The country's marine governing body must appoint masters who hold valid and internationally accepted certificates and who have the experience, training, or competence to command the vessel they are assigned to. He must be familiarized with the Safety Management System (SMS) prior to joining the vessel.
All other ship’s personnel must have the required qualifications, skills, competence, and medical fitness to perform the duties required of them. This will be dictated by the type of ship, the trade she is engaged in, working load on the crew, and other factors. The company or crewing agency should keep a record of service for these personnel and investigate the service records of new employees from their past employers.
The ship’s personnel must be made aware of their routine duties under the SMS prior to joining a vessel and be familiarized with the ship and equipment. This will include details of procedures incorporated in the safety management system for efficient operation of the ship and equipment such as the pumping system, the bridge equipment, type and operation of the main engine, planned maintenance system etc. which are necessary for the safe and proper performance of his duties. This familiarization may be carried out by training videos, office manuals, briefing, checklist, questionnaires, a guided program, handover notes, and proper handing over of watch by the relieved seafarer. The success of SMS will depend on the commitment and motivation instilled in the ship’s crew.
Relevant personnel must be familiar with all international, national and classification society requirements relating to safe ship operation and pollution prevention. These will include information and guidelines published by industry organizations such as the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Oil International Maritime Forum (OCIMF), the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) and others. A library could be established on board and ashore where reference materials including the SMS manuals, company safety bulletins, magazines, etc. could be accessed by all.
Continuous Safety Training Drills
Safety training drills covering all likely emergencies must be regularly conducted as per the procedures and requirements described in the Safety Management System and as realistically as possible so that the crew gain confidence and control of any emergency situation. The results of these drills together with safety audits, analysis of accidents, hazardous occurrences, and non-conformities will help the company identify training requirements, material resources, and changes to the SMS procedures. Individual training and qualification must be valid and comply with international, national, and company regulations. The company may consider, in addition, the need for refresher courses, ship or equipment specific training, familiarization training, or human resource development/personnel management training for both sea-going and shore personnel.
Importance of Communication among Crew
In an emergency, the ability of the crew to understand orders and communication between themselves and the passengers is crucial. This ability should be reviewed at the recruitment stage, monitored during crew appraisals, and records should be kept by the company or its crewing agency.