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  • Experience & Competence – A perspective

    February 12, 2018
  • Appraising time-in-rank and competence

    The oil majors vetting resources collect data from multiple sources to determine whether a vessel is fit to be on seas and that it has a seasoned crew with acceptable levels of safety and risk of pollution.  The competency of crew at an individual level and their skills form an important variable in assessing risk.

    Measuring human performance is a complex issue, while the need of Vetting teams is fast and simple solutions using available information.  While you can asses an officers’ experience using the OCIMF SIRE On-Line Officer Matrix, information on individual competencies is generally unavailable. 

    Oil majors insist on a minimum level of experience defined by years with an operator, rank and type of tanker. These are set for all deck and engineering officers in the SIRE Officers matrix and are updated frequently by the operator.  The demands are not uniform amongst oil companies and cause a lot of undue burden on ship operators.  Frequently we will see that to meet the requirements of a specific charterer, one or more officers who are not complying with the set time in rank / type of tanker rules are replaced at a considerable expense.  However, whether this reduces risk is not clear. As an example, a master and chief officer may fall short of the set time criteria, but could pass muster by having them change ranks for the duration of the charter.

    An effective performance appraisal system identifies shortcomings and drives specific training to address continuous improvement. Operators and personnel sharing a passion for zero risk and incident-free operations will consistently take actions to ensure continuous improvement. 

    Each observation should drive a detailed profile of key ship and shore personnel and should be analysed for cause.  For each individual a performance profile with specific training and corrective actions should be annotated.  

    This ongoing struggle to effectively measure and control risks is increasingly looking software as a service solution to identify difficult-to-measure, highly complex and sometimes sensitive issues associated with human performance. Humans are not to be underrated and a risk free operation will be dependent on human performance, which is not measured by experience alone.