As of 1 March 2012, the Danish Maritime Authority has introduced a new way of surveying fishing vessels. Whereas surveys were previously slavishly based on a survey form and subsequent reporting, they are now based on dialogue and overall assessments.
From general control to focused dialogue
Ship Surveyor Bo Berggreen Larsen from Thyborøn explains the new system:
“Through dialogue, we try to find out how the safety work is on board the ship and, if necessary, to influence the responsible master in a positive direction. Hopefully, the dialogue results in the master getting a better understanding of the safety work. If we find that the safety on board the vessel is in order and that attention and commitment has been involved, we will soon complete our work. We will fill in the report on the spot and you will not need to fill in checklists or to report back. In this way, we save time, and the master saves money since he has to pay us an hourly rate for our survey work. If, on the other hand, the safety work and the safety culture as such are poor, the master is given a list of defects to be rectified and he is asked to report back in writing. Thus, good vessels do not have to make any extra administrative work. If we assess that there are many defects and non-conformities, we will, in some cases, order the vessel to stay in port until things have been rectified, and this is also costly.”
Dialogue is intended to increase safety on board
Bo Berggreen Larsen stresses that the dialogue is expected to increase safety:
“The purpose of the talk is to make the master assume his responsibility, think about safety on board and involve the crew in the safety work. He must understand that he and his crew are to work with safety not for the sake of the authorities, but rather for their own sake.” Usually, the ship surveyor will base the dialogue on how to use the equipment on board and how to act in various situations – the so-called operational conditions.
“I can, for example, ask whether they know how to use the radio in an emergency. Or whether the radar is set correctly so as to avoid a collision and whether they are capable of rescuing a colleague from the sea. I can also ask whether they know how to use the fire-extinguishing system correctly, and whether they remember to test the water level alarm. On the other hand, I spend less time checking the equipment as such. Here, I often make only one spot check and test, for example, one light rather than spend time checking them all”, explains Bo Berggreen Larsen.
The new survey system has been well received by the fishermen
As many other people, fishermen are sceptical to change. Nevertheless, Bo Berggreen Larsen has the impression that the new survey system has been well received.
“I have, for example, met a master who would like to have his ship surveyed though it was not required until a few years later. This shows that the fishermen have confidence in the Danish Maritime Authority and recognise our professional expertise and experience.”
Various ships – the same safety
Bo Berggreen Larsen stresses that the new survey system makes great demands on the ship surveyor:
“He must know his field, know what he is talking about and be able to quickly get an overview of the safety level on board. In this connection, it must be remembered that not two fishing vessels are the same. But the safety must be the same. That is our challenge. On the other hand, a survey based on dialogue will bring about safer fishing vessels and more dedicated fishermen. Therefore, I hope that in time the new survey system will spread to other types of vessels”, says Bo Berggreen Larsen.
Source: Danish Maritime Authority, July 9, 2012