North P&I Club is encouraging its shipowner members to consider the crew evaluation and benchmarking service offered by Seagull Maritime AS through an exclusive partnership between the two organisations. The initiative is part of a pioneering campaign by North to support its members in their aim to attract, recruit and retain the ‘right crew’ for their ships.
Over the next 12 months any North shipowner member wishing to assess its existing and potential crew members – whether directly employed or supplied via manning agents – can use Seagull’s unique online crew evaluation system (CES) and associated benchmarking tool for a 25% discount on the standard US$4,000 fee.
According to North’s deputy loss prevention director Colin Gillespie, North’s root cause analysis of major claims identified issues with officer quality and safety culture to be present in the majority of incidents. ‘Quality issues are a problem in an employment market characterised by officer shortages but in which shipowners must meet minimum manning standards. This can result in low quality officers who, in a more balanced supply and demand situation may struggle to find work, continuing to circulate in the market. These officers can be both ineffective in their work and potentially unsafe. Through our Right Crew initiative we are encouraging our members to find and keep quality seafarers – as well as to identify those who are not.’
‘Seafarer knowledge assessment and benchmarking is an important tool to highlight knowledge gaps. Seagull is currently the only provider of an online benchmarking tool of this type, so we are delighted to have joined forces with the company to offer our members an exclusive 12-month discount on its innovative evaluation and benchmarking service.’
Michael McCabe, managing director of Seagull UK, says, ‘North is well known for its pioneering and innovative approach to loss prevention so we are very pleased to be working with them on this campaign. North members who sign up to our service can immediately offer online tests to crewmembers to evaluate their background knowledge.’
CES tests, which can be taken anywhere on a standard PC, are based on over 5000 multiple-choice questions on knowledge areas in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Test results are recorded and benchmarked against the CES global database of over 700,000 tests carried out since 2010.
Seagull reports that 8% of qualified seafarers scored less than 40%. ‘Low levels of knowledge can be a potential danger to the ship, the crew and to the individual themselves. Where low levels of knowledge are identified they must be addressed. This may be through training programs.’ says Gillespie. ‘The CES service will also enable members to focus their training efforts, create benchmarks to compare manning agents, and to monitor crew quality over time by rank, nationality and crew pool.’
In October last year North published three new briefings entitled Attracting the ‘Right Crew?’, Selecting / Recruiting the ‘Right Crew?’ and Retaining the ‘Right Crew?’ ‘The right crew for a shipowner depends on the type of vessel, where it operates, the demands of the sector and company preferences,’ says Gillespie. ‘While all crew will have STCW certificates, attracting, selecting, recruiting and retaining the right STCW-certified crew – and identifying the ‘wrong’ ones – is critically important to our members.
‘We hope our partnership with Seagull will help raise awareness of the quality issues and offer practical assistance to our Members in their efforts to employ the Right Crew.’