The Effective Crew Project, led by Solent University, examines the benefits and challenges associated with the implementation of either a stable or a fluid crewing strategy on board merchant vessels. This three year project started in April 2017 and is kindly sponsored by the Lloyds Register Foundation and the TK Foundation.
The Effective Crew research develops findings from a pilot study conducted by the same research team and will draw upon best practice from stakeholders within the maritime industry. Data will also be examined from other industries to compare best practice and draw on lessons learnt for the maritime industry to improve safety, welfare and efficiency at sea.
InterManager Dispatch Magazine
An article was recently published in InterManager Dispatch magazine highlighting the importance of questioning crewing strategies.
Read the article
- Examine the impact on safety and efficiency of implementing stable or fluid crewing strategies within the Merchant Navy.
- Provide new data in an area where the current information is primarily anecdotal.
- Share best practice from other industries which apply stable and fluid teams.
- Develop a best practice guide on crewing assignment for the shipping industry.
- Develop recommendations for those in the shipping industry instrumental to crew assignment.
- Produce high impact dissemination of the research findings.
The project will ultimately highlight the benefits and limitations of implementing either a fluid or a stable crewing strategy. Drawing on the research findings and best practice from other industries, recommendations will be made on the optimum implementation of these crewing strategies, for the merchant shipping industry.
The merchant shipping industry is constantly seeking to balance different elements of the crewing equation:
- Safety - increasing evidence of the impact of the human element in safety.
- Cost - crewing is commonly the largest element in vessel operating budget.
- Efficiency - the drive to demonstrate increasing cost-effectiveness in a competitive marketplace.
One of the areas impacting on this equation is how crew are allocated to vessels and how long a senior team works together on the same vessel. Does maintaining a consistent senior team deliver benefits in safety, efficiency and cost?
In the merchant shipping industry there are companies operating a stable crewing strategy where the same senior officers (top four) operate on a back-to-back basis and return to the same vessel for several trips, with all four joining and leaving the vessel at the same time. Other companies operate a fluid system where senior officers are assigned to any appropriate vessel and will sail with different senior officers every trip.
Little literature exists regarding the benefits and challenges of these strategies within the shipping industry. Captain Kuba Szymanski, General Secretary of InterManager says:
We in the shipping industry are full of great examples, but majority of them are all anecdotal and what we are missing is good, hard scientific research which would form a basis for actions.
Evidence from other industries including healthcare, aviation and professional sports suggests the benefits of maintaining stable teams include: improved safety; building team identity; sharing skills; improved efficiency, motivation and morale. These could be of significant value to the shipping industry, particularly regarding safety performance and seafarers’ welfare.
For further information about the project, please contact:
Dr Kate Pike: email@example.com
Emma Broadhurst: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +44 (0)23 8201 6780
Media and press releases
- Anon., 2018. Research team works towards safer and more cost-effective crewing. Ship Management International, 18 September.
- Anon., 2018. Solent University leads project to examine best manning strategies. Safety4Sea, 18 September.
- Wincott, C., 2018. Are We Making Sound Business Decisions? Dispatch, April/March, 14-15. Available here.
- Linington, A., 2017. Researchers to further investigate pros and cons of different crewing practices. Nautilus Telegraph, 21 July.
- Anon., 2017. Researchers look into optimum crew policy. Nautilus Telegraph, 2 June.
- Solent University, 2017. Crew efficiency project awarded £175k funding, in: Official Solent University [online], 26 May. Available here.
22 May 2018: CrewConnect Europe, KNect365 Maritime, Hamburg, Germany
9 and 10 May 2018: Lloyd's Register Foundation International Conference. Lloyd's Register Foundation, London, UK.
3 May 2018: Research, Innovation and Enterprise Conference, Solent University, Southampton, UK.
7 November 2017: CrewConnect Global, KNect 365 Maritime, Manila, Philippines.
7 June 2017: International Conference on Maritime Policy, Technology and Education. Hosted by Solent University and Shanghai Maritime University in Southampton, UK.
3 May 2017: Research and Innovation Conference. Solent University, Southampton, UK.
On Thursday 27 September team members Kate Pike and Emma Broadhurst will be visiting the IMO headquarters in London in celebration of World Maritime Day. October will be a busy month for the team, with preparations being made to attend and present the research at two UK conferences. On Tuesday 16 October, Kate Pike will discuss some of the key findings from the project at the InterManager’s AGM. This is followed by the ACI’s 23rd Maritime HR and Crew Management Summit on Thursday 25 October, where Chris Wincott will also be disseminating the research findings. Further preparations are also being made for Dr Pike’s and Chris Wincott’s presentation at Crew Connect Global in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday 6 November.
The end of project conference to disseminate all the research findings to a cross industry audience will take place at the IMO’s Headquarters on Thursday 31 January 2019. The audience will also include multiple key industry stakeholders and up to 10 cadets from the Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, who are generously being supported in their attendance by the TK Foundation, and kindly organised by Kuba Szymanski. Several panel discussions are planned during the event and the research findings will be disseminated and shared with the audience.
For further information about the conference please contact Emma Broadhurst at email@example.com
The team continues to work on the industry case studies and data analysis from the interviews with maritime stakeholders. The findings will form part of the final project report and recommendations to the industry.
World Maritime Day
The theme for World Maritime Day 2018 was "IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future". (IMO 2018)
Find out more
Team members, Karen Passman and Emma Broadhurst presented at CrewConnect Europe on 22 and 23 May 2018. Initial research findings were shared with the global audience, as well as an update on the research project's progress and future activities. The team would like to thank the conference organisers, KNect365 for the opportunity to present.
Lloyd's Register Foundation (LRF) International Conference
Team Members attended the LRF International Conference on 9 and 10 May 2018. The team would like to thank Lloyd's Register Foundation for inviting them to attend the conference. The theme of this year's conference was 'Bringing Safety to Life'. The team submitted an informative poster about their research so far.
Solent University's Research, Innovation and Enterprise Conference
The team presented an interactive session at Solent University's annual Research, Innovation and Enterprise Conference on 3 May. This session demonstrated how teams work differently together over time through a series of entertaining, interactive activities with the audience.
Preparation for Solent University's Research, Innovation and Enterprise Conference
The team recently held a run-through of the interactive session we'll be running at Solent's annual Research and Innovation Conference, with the help of several student volunteers.
An article inspired by the project was featured in March/April's edition of InterManager's Dispatch magazine.
The first phase of data collection through an online survey is now complete. The survey was specifically aimed at seafarers, insurers, recruiters, ship managers and owners.
London International Shipping Week
Team members attended two events held as part of London International Shipping Week in September 2017. The events provided the team with the opportunity to inform and engage with maritime stakeholders and raise awareness of the project.
In November project members Dr Kate Pike and Chris Wincott presented for the second time at CrewConnect Global in Manila. The international audience was told about the project’s progress and invited to participate in the research.
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WALTERS, D., and N. BAILEY, 2013. Lives in Peril Profit or Safety in the Global Maritime Industry?. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian
WEGNER, D.M., 1987. Transactive memory: A contemporary analysis of the group mind. Theories of group behavior. Springer, pp.185-208
The International Maritime Organisation have recently published a video reflecting on their history as they celebrate their 70th birthday. Watch the full video:
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