Getting to Zero Incidents

Nov 19, 2013

As part of its commitment to safety in the maritime industry, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) collaborated with SafeMARINER™, LLC to host a groundbreaking seminar entitled “Zero Incidents through Training, Competency & Continual Improvement,” a one-day industry conference for various key players in American maritime transportation. Over 70 people attended the event at SCI’s Center for Maritime Education in Houston, TX on November 12 to discuss issues critical to protecting lives and the marine environment.

The forum brought together constituents from many sectors of the maritime industry—including regulation observers and enforcers—to discuss issues surrounding the secure operation of vessels on the water. Participants reviewed practices and policies and shared practical experiences. Presenters urged participants to think outside the box regarding their approaches to safety and human error.

Speakers and presenters at the event included Richard T. du Moulin, SCI’s Chairman and President of Intrepid Shipping LLC; US Coast Guard Houston/Galveston Captain of the Port Brian Penoyer; Rick Dunn of SafeMARINER™, LLC; Jim Guidry of Kirby Inland Marine; Captain Pat Riley of Canal Barge; Andrew Turner from the Federal Aviation Administration; Tracy Murrell, Director of Marine Safety from the National Transportation Safety Board; and Jack J. Buono, President of SeaRiver Maritime, Inc.

SCI brought together these various groups and their leaders to coordinate knowledge from numerous factions. “For the first time in memory,” said SCI’s President & Executive Director, the Rev. David M. Rider, “we gathered senior transportation safety managers with government officials from the Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration to discuss emerging best practices in a candid and mutually respectful way.”

Remarking on this disparate participation, Jim Fletcher from Team Services said the unique environment made for a “great panel discussion group.”

SeaRiver President Jack Buono, a former shipmaster, addressed the continual progress on safety in the maritime world. When he began his career in the late 1970s, people would have dismissed the idea of zero incidents as utopian fantasy. Now, according to Buono, companies and organizations view the goal as a fundamental business objective utilizing a comprehensive approach that includes an unwavering commitment to people, building a strong safety culture and adhering to robust management systems.

In the spirit of zero incidents, SCI debuted its new Transas training simulator that enables apprentice mariners to accrue sea-time credit for licensure while providing advance training to veteran pilots on the newest safety techniques. SCI demonstrated the potential of the simulators to strengthen mariner ability while documenting competency in an increasingly regulated maritime environment.

Other topics and panel discussions included ministry and pastoral care for seafarers to reduce human errors from family distraction; seamanship and leadership; incident investigations; safety management systems; TMSA2; behavior based safety; competency assessments; the use of checklists; threat and error management; human error; and systems thinking.

The event also showcased demonstrations of SCI’s programs for e-learning, simulator use for assessments, licensing, interactive training, and feasibility studies for bridges, dock designs or waterway projects. Participants and attendees exchanged ideas and useful information to assist with implementation of new procedures and the Towing Vessel Safety Management Systems to prepare for emerging regulations.

Anticipating this to be an annual event with changing topics, SCI brings together diverse groups as a neutral convener to assist with solving problems and addressing challenges within the maritime industry. For more information about similar and future industry forums, contact cme@seamenschurch.org or moderator for this event Rick Dunn at rick@safemariner.com.