The development of maritime technologies has significantly enhanced the safety level of ship navigation today, however human error is still widely recognised as a main cause of maritime incidents. Cyprus-based maritime technology and marine risk firm Prevention at Sea is offering a technology solution to address the human element in maritime safety.
Petros Achtypis, CEO at Prevention at Sea, reckons that maritime manpower tends to be the weak link for safe ship operations.
“Records prove that more than 70% of accidents affecting maritime safety are attributed to poor judgement, lack of common sense and critical thinking, miscommunication, and lack of shipping knowledge. All of which can be summarised under the term human element failure,” Achtypis says.
Despite the adoption of multiple industry initiatives, rules and procedures, audit results analysed by Prevention at Sea and the Centre of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences of the European University in Cyprus (CERIDES) show that the early warning signals of unsafe practices are not being detected. This directly compromises safe fleet operations, impacts reputation, and leads to financial losses.
According to Achtypis, the aim of the company is to re-establish a genuine, industry-wide commitment to “safety first”.
“To achieve this, we believe that the industry needs a standardised methodology which proactively detects clear signals that correspond to unsafe behaviours or situations before they can escalate and cause real problems,” Achtypis says.
Prevention at Sea has designed its Human ELement Maritime Enhancement Tool (H.EL.M.E.T.), a human-centred risk assessment methodology. It introduces the appreciation of a system-focused view, in which the interrelationships of people, processes, awareness, decisions and organisational actions are all assessed.
In order to enhance the tool, Prevention at Sea has assembled a committee of 15 maritime safety heavyweights, including experts representing international organisations, the industry and academia, from across the world, specialising in risk assessment, communications and management system standards.
The company has also introduced a new company model, by having software developers and maritime experts under the same umbrella, something rare in the shipping industry.
“Conducting shipping business safely remains at the very core of our industry and as we head into an unprecedented phase of change, never has it been so important. With so many new rules and requirements to contend with, seafarers and shipping companies are struggling to cope. Those onboard and ashore need supportive guidance from experts enabling in-depth knowledge of requirements, as well as the early detection of unsafe practices,” Achtypis concludes.