Cork Command Seminar looks to future of shipping industry

The latest in The Nautical Institute’s 2017 series of Command Seminars continues to focus on Navigation Accidents and their Causes, but also looks beyond that to wider issues affecting the future development of the shipping industry.

“Human factors are the real cause of many accidents. We can’t get rid of human error so it is important to put up defences against those mistakes by establishing good practice,” said past president Captain Robert McCabe (pictured) in his opening address at the fourth seminar in Cork.

While human error has been a major focus for The Nautical Institute for many years, there is increasing concern about the possibility for accidents caused by interaction between seafarers and the autonomous vessels with which it is likely they will soon be sharing sealanes.

“There is pressure from autonomous ship development to remove ambiguity in Colregs. But this is not likely to happen,” said Hill Dickinson’s Donal Keaney AFNI.

This view was backed by Professor Andy Norris FNI, speaking on the do’s and don’ts of electronics at sea: “There should be very little change in the Colregs to take into account autonomous vessel operation. They will have to learn to operate within existing Colregs otherwise every mariner will have to be retrained,” he warned.

The seminar also looked at some of the many issues seafarers continue to face worldwide, calling in particular for a worldwide regulatory regime for an industry which is a worldwide service to the human race. Other issues addressed by the conference include cybersecurity, the need to reduce paperwork onboard and ensure accurate recordkeeping, particularly with regard to hours of work and rest, and the use of leadership and competency to prevent incidents.

This was one of a series of five Command Seminars held over the course of 2017. All the Command Seminars offer excellent opportunities for debate, discussion and networking with maritime professionals. The final Command Seminar takes place in Limassol, Cyprus, on 3rd November.