North P&I Club stresses the importance of a working language on ships

Health and Safety, P and I Clubs — By on April 22, 2014 at 7:32 PM

North PI club logo (1)The 180 million GT North P&I club has reminded shipowners of the importance of making sure that an appropriate working language is used on their ships and that seafarers are practised at speaking it.

According to head of loss prevention Tony Baker, ‘In order for a team to function effectively, efficiently and safely, the ability to communicate clearly is crucial. This is especially important during safety-critical operations such as responding to emergencies on board.

‘Any crewmembers who are unable to communicate clearly during an incident may risk the safety of the ship and their fellow seafarers. While it is natural to revert your first language when stressed, it is vital you use the ship’s working language during key shipboard operations.’

North recommends that all crewmembers are given frequent opportunities to converse in the ship’s working language. This includes carrying out all professional communications in the working language, such as training, drills, safety meetings, bridge communications and engine room communications.

‘During training and drills, officers should ask questions and encourage others to ask questions, ‘ says Baker. ‘Familiarity with duties and equipment will also help to ensure that crewmembers remain calm during an emergency and are more likely to use the language they have been trained in’.

The campaign is centred on a new poster in North’s Soft Skills series, entitled Talk the Talk. The poster graphically compares the possible multi-lingual chaos following discovery of a fire with the calm organised response that takes place with effective communications. The poster has been distributed to North’s members and ships with its loss prevention newsletter Signals, and can also be downloaded from the club’s website.

The first poster in the series, published in October last year, encourages a culture of good interpersonal relationships at sea. Entitled It Takes Two, it highlights the importance of junior personnel being encouraged to speak out on things that concern them and of senior personnel being prepared to listen and take notice.



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