ITF speaks up for seafarers at 100th session of IMO maritime safety committee

On 3 December 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convened the 100th session of Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) – first held in 1948.

To mark the occasion, three speakers made up a special panel with representatives from manufacturers, technology providers and the ITF-accredited representative to the IMO Branko Berlan spoke on behalf workers.

Mr Berlan’s presentation, titled the ‘human element in shipping – are seafarers indispensable?’, is available here.

Mr Berlan highlighted the key role of seafarers in preventing accidents and incidents. He also spoke about the future of maritime work: “Seafarers are ready for the future. The new autonomous technologies are not here today, tomorrow or next week. It will come as evolution, not revolution. Moreover, the maritime human element, in particular seafarers, are and will be indispensable.”

Other presentations were made by Kevin Daffey, director of ship intelligence at Rolls Royce (see presenation), and Timo Koponen from Wärtsilä Marine Business (see presentation).

The panel discussion concluded that:

  • Seafarers are prepared for ship automation
  • For autonomous ships, human intervention and supervision will always be there to override machinery. This technology may be available in less than five years
  • The challenges to overcome are regulation, regional and national imbalance, search and rescue, communications and reliability of new technology
  • Appropriate education and training should ensure prospective career paths.

Mr Berlan added: “The presentations showed all crucial elements to enhance safety and security at sea - development of technology, feasibility of autonomous ships in the future and the importance of the human element. Cooperation among industry stakeholders is essential for the future. At the end of the day, what we are striving for are safety, security, efficiency and environment protection, that is, sustainability. Human are in the centre of the gears.”

 

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