15 April 2002

From the Marine-L mailing list come the FIRST indication that all is not right with the Basilisk called STCW 95!

"On Monday 08 April 2002 05:51 am, LEMSCHOUT wrote:

Hello Pierre,

> but within a few weeks the problem is fixed, at least before some
> of us realize that they develop a new ganglion or a real cancer.

the danger may reduce as all efforts underway to prohibit these chicken
concentration camps, but not because of your health, the concern here more
with the chicken :-)

> which I doubt as I suspect that many Western training institutes are
> drastically lowering their standard in order to be 'competitive'.

Looking at both options, resume high quality training, it is not going to be
much of a future prospect for the young generation to work at salary levels
for cheaply trained staff. Doing cheap training, they are not going to have
the options taking up a position ashore. Isn't going to take much time and
shore companies will have figured out the real value of STCW95. Those
students got 40 years of work ahead of them. It is not going to be attractive
having no options. Some schools will try to survive by endless STCW95 short
term courses, but as the volume of students to decrease, you will see them
doing what most of them did already, to close down.

> respect the legal working hours and rest period, refusing eventually
> to carry out extra paperwork (not yet included in the nice forms prepared
> for the purpose to check working time).

You read the news, 16% of accidents caused by fatigue. Also a nice article
about Technology :-) Of course the PSC does control that the resthours had
been maintained by checking those duly prepared forms. If they really would
check and compare with the logbooks, alarm logs, I wouldn't be too surprised
when finding vessels where based on these sheets nobody on the bridge while
manoeuvring on the river or oil transfer operations without any engineer :-)

> Keeping in mind his watchkeeping duties, as the IMO want, he could even be
> slow to pick up the GMDSS phone when he is on duty in dense traffic as Mike
> has just suggested!

While you had double the crew, if someone failed was someone to take over. 4
eyes did saw more than 2. You had 2 persons on duty, they less likely to fall
asleep than having only 1. Automation and electronic is good in way of
additional security if something has been overlooked, also faster, but should
not substitute the man and his qualification. Any chief may tell you, if
something weird on the screen, check the sensor first.

The truth behind STCW95 the shortage of officers. These figures had been well
known and was no secret at all that it would get short. While making less
qualification acceptable you increased the pool of available officers.
Instead of doing the more reasonable thing, making the job more attractive
they all supported this white wash operation. A lot of countries should not
have entered the white list, but miraculously they did. To make things worse,
crewing agents had filters as known things not to be in the best state. Those
filters might have had some large holes to meet the demand. Now anything can
pass and nobody can blame them, all internationally accepted by STCW95.

STCW95 isn't going to reduce problems, even the ISM Code not going to be of
much help when the experience is missing. In last years they had been
promoting like hell just to fill the gap. Licenses had been upgraded already
for some time, increasing size of vessel and horsepower. STCW95 was just
another step into the same direction. They wanted it that way. Remember the
old times where a mate had to become something like 60 prior being promoted
to master? But that was when the job was still somehow attractive and you
still had a lot of young people joining the profession.

If the job more attractive, might have had enough staff, companies for sure
would select the best and absolute no need here for any STCW95 and it's white
wash operations. But same like with the eggs, better eggs do cost more. As
long as the customer isn't prepared to invest more, they for sure not going
to expect quality eggs for the price of cheap ones. Eventually they may, as
top licenses had been downgraded to STCW95. But not for a long time,
because nobody to continue producing quality eggs to sell them at the price
of cheap ones.

> this week-end it was more than true with the first suicide of a SABENA pilot
> who was still out of job several month after the bankruptcy of the company.

So far all terrorists entered the US by air. The US is however more concerned
that terrorists may take the risk of a STCW95 passage. Arabs hate the sea.
In a lot of drug cases I do suspect already involvement of the crew to
improve their salary. I am only wondering if it might not happen that one day
a suicidal master to blow up his gas tanker in response to STCW95 and
excessive administration, cheap crew. Totally weird?



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