Therefore, international support is highly essential. This talk and walk of GHG-emission-reduction programs for domestic ships contribute to a future of greener global industry considering that we only have one ocean. Simultaneously, we create a positive impact if all nations do start with one step, then continuously supporting and providing the necessary actions to achieve the IMO goals of 40% and 70% reduced carbon emission by 2030 and 2050, respectively, for a more sustainable world.
On another note, the Maritime Industry Development Plan under program 6 talks about safety that involves concerned government agencies and maritime stakeholders. Safety should always be a part of the discussion, plans and programs, and culture for the operation of ships regardless of their improvement always involves risk.
International organizations consistently talk about safety on ships (either domestic or international trading). I am also sharing a bit about my dissertation with a long title which is: “The Analysis of the Effectiveness of the ISM Code Implementation through the conduct of External Audits to Philippine Domestic Ships “and Shipping Companies.”
During data gathering by doing interviews with MARINA ISM auditors, it was seen that the secondary unintentional effects of the ISM Code such as bureaucratization of safety management, numerous procedures, and the burden of too much paperwork as seen in literature do exist. There’s also the issue of paper compliance.
So, what can the flag State do about this reality? How can we get a bigger picture of the actual activity of the vessels to address the reality of the situations whether good or unsafe? The wonderful news is: many discoveries have been accomplished by great researchers and we do not even need to reinvent the wheel. But instead, we apply what has been discovered. Studies have come up about the perception of safety from Safety I to Safety II as termed by Hollnagel (2015), a Danish safety scientist, or as Safety Currently to Safety Differently as termed by Sidney Dekker (2015), a pilot, and an Australian safety expert.
Meanwhile, the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) has applied the Safety II or Safety Differently concept in its inspection and audit systems to its passenger ships. And the key is dialogue. Safety dialogue with all seafarers. The Chief of DMA has affirmed, “We no longer regard human error as the reason for accidents but as a result of problems in the system that is design, organization, management, education, procedures, controls, culture, construction, communication, training, etc.”
The DMA inspection & audit systems may be applied in Philippine domestic ships to enhance safety culture and to address the negative consequences of ISM such as bureaucracy. Meaning, the existing inspection and audit systems will remain, but a safety dialogue with all seafarers be included during the annual ship survey to facilitate interaction with seafarers. The dialogue by delivering warm questions intends to strengthen trust to collect the difficulties and successes during operations with the aim to get a real picture of the activities of the vessel. Any issue may be addressed immediately and good practices are encouraged.
Thus, a paradigm shift where in addition to looking into procedures and paperwork and technical aspects, regulators through surveyors and auditors will listen to seafarers who experience safety and risks every day.
Consequently, the safety dialogue results/reports produced during inspections will then be discussed during annual company audits. Bearing in mind to anonymize the identity of the crew.
Hopefully, MARINA can be the initial advocate of Safety II or Safety Differently in the Philippines, where technically the inspection and audit systems will continue but should evolve towards a dialogue more than a judgment.
On another wonderful piece of news, I have submitted my post-travel report to the Department of Transportation and Maritime Industry Authority this month of November 2022 as one of the requirements pursuant to the issued Foreign Travel Order which contains the proposal of incorporating a safety dialogue with all seafarers onboard during the conduct of annual ship survey and verify compliance during an annual company audit. Hopefully, the great leaders of the maritime industry can appreciate the Safety II or Safety Differently concept.