World Maritime Day on 26 September 2019 offers a good opportunity to highlight the new Safety Culture Charter (“Charter”), launched by The Chamber of Shipping on 10 September 2019 during London International Shipping Week.

Introduction

Hundreds of seafarers are injured or killed globally each year. As the merchant fleet continues to expand, the safety of maritime personnel and recreational users on sea and land remains of critical importance.

The U.K. Government is working to improve the safety of those in the maritime sector with the Maritime Safety Action Plan. It is hoped that the plan will cut preventable fishing deaths by 2027 and half drowning by 2026. The plan is aimed at those engaged in the commercial and recreational sectors.

However good safety culture is key to securing improvements. With that in mind the UK Chamber of Shipping has developed a ‘Safety Culture Charter’ to encourage its ship owners and operating members to commit to promoting and adopting a positive safety culture within their organisations, leading from the top. This charter is a demonstrable step towards making improvements in safety, driving continuous improvement of safety culture across the industry with the overall aim of reducing accidents and incidents.

The Charter serves to complement existing safety measures adopted by organisations in addition to enhancing the visibility of agreements on safety measures being implemented by members and organisations to make safety a priority.

The Chamber of Shipping considers the Charter will provide companies with an opportunity to assess their current safety culture and implement positive changes to empower seafarers and shoreside staff to adopt a safer culture.

The future

Building a strong safety charter is an ongoing, collaborative process which takes time and cannot be achieved overnight. However there is little doubt that with commitment and resilience, the potential benefits for organisations adopting the Charter are significant. The Charter was adopted by twenty shipping companies before the official launch by the Chamber of Shipping. That number is likely to grow and it will be interesting to see this develop. Watch this space…