Posts Tagged With: miscommunication

English only, please!?


Kidding aside, yes, it’s important that you know how to clearly communicate in English language.

So, English only please, seafarer?

A seafarer’s poor English communication skill is dangerous. That’s what researchers Nora Berg, Jenni Storgård and Jouni Lappalainen of The Centre for Maritime Studies in University of Turku had proven when they conducted a particular research.  i read their paper entitled ‘The Impact of ship crews on the Maritime Safety’ online and it tackled why effective Maritime English should be observed.

“Because of the international character of shipping, maritime English has proved to be a very important part of future officer training. If an officer is not used to speaking English, in the beginning it may be difficult to express oneself,” the authors wrote, highlighting the value of maritime English, particularly to those who aspire to be ship officers.

“A paper written by Popescu et al (2010) suggests that the improvement of the standard maritime English would help young apprentices to communicate and so to avoid accidents that happen due to human errors caused by bad communication.

“Despite the positive impacts of multinational crews, communication was seen as the major problem. When skills in English are not good enough, it increases the risk of misunderstandings.

“This is a risk considering the ship is a highly hierarchical system. Sampson & Zhao present an example of a captain who had poor knowledge of English.This caused problems with the lower ranks in terms of a loosened authority,” the source said.

Meanwhile, a more advanced level of maritime English had been recommended to be taught especially in schools of less developed countries and shore personnel interacting with seafarers should know at least the basics, too!

“Recommendations for standard maritime English have been adopted by the IMO.

“It is a simplified version of English including standard vocabulary for maritime communication.

“(Sampson & Zhao 2003). Despite good efforts of adopting Maritime English into the field, it was not detected in the study on board ships.

“Also the drive for cheaper crews from less developed countries can, according to Sampson & Zhao, be seen as a risk, since the assumption is that their English skills may be poorer.

“The additional training in English is well acknowledged by maritime training facilities (Horck 2010). In any case the English skills of seafarers are often very basic, and the situation in ports is similar, too (Horck 2010).

“This said, it is evident that the level of English taught in maritime education has to be more advanced and also implemented for on shore operators such as port operators.”



What can you say about Filipino’s English communication skills? Leave a comment below!

Categories: Health & Safety, Overseas Filipino Woker, training | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Collision due to Miscommunication



In darkness, two vessels under pilotage were approaching each other in a very restricted canal. Shortly after rounding the bend in the canal, the vessels came into view of one another. It appeared to the pilot of vessel A that vessel B was slightly crowding the north side of the channel. Accordingly, he decided to give a little more room for the meeting to take place by moving closer to the north bank. The pilot did not communicate his intentions to either the pilot of the other vessel nor to the navigation personnel of his ship. When satisfied with the vessel’s position in the channel, he asked the helmsman to steer 248° gyro (G). The helmsman complied but found that the vessel needed regular inputs of 5° to 10° starboard helm in order to maintain the heading. The OOW was standing by the helmsman verifying his actions.

For the next few minutes, more than 10° starboard helm was applied
to maintain the heading on vessel A. Thereafter, 20° to 30° starboard
helm was necessary to steer the desired course and, as the vessel had a
flap type rudder, the helmsman was able to keep the required course of
248°. During this time, the pilot reportedly glanced at the rudder angle
indicator from time to time, but there was no exchange of information
among bridge team members. During this time the pilot gradually
reduced the propeller pitch to slow the vessel down before the
meeting. Since completing the bend at 7.6 knots, vessel A was now
making 5.7 knots.

There is conflicting information with respect to the helm orders
given next on vessel A. The navigation personnel maintain that
the pilot ordered the helm amidships, whereas the pilot does not
recollect this order. The helm was nonetheless put to midships and
the vessel immediately started to sheer to port. Full starboard helm
was then applied, but the vessel’s heading continued to swing to port.
The two vessels collided near mid-channel at a combined speed of
approximately 6 knots.


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Categories: Safety Reports | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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