Equip the Seafarer of the Future with the Skills for Success

Sep 30 2021

Seafarers, not Technology, are the Heroes, says Wiernicki.

Shipping needs to develop a continual learning environment to equip the seafarer of the future for the rate of change that is coming to the industry.
That was the call from Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President, and CEO in an interview with Esben Poulsson, International Chamber of Shipping Chairman, at Sea Asia.
“How do we get everyone ready for the new language of shipping which is going to be CO2 emissions per ton mile? As we look forward, I think the talent equation is going to change. There is going to be more emphasis on technology and people, and on learning.
As the industry brings in non-traditional skill sets alongside traditional expertise, this blend of domain expertise, data, and data science will need a focus less on training and more on continuous learning. With the new technologies that are coming and the rate of change of technologies on board, it is it is going to demand a new environment of fast learning,” said Wiernicki.
“We get caught up in technology, but technology has no common sense, no sense of humor, no judgment. I think people are going to be the real heroes going forward,” he added.
In a wide-ranging conversation covering decarbonization, digitalization and the disruptive impact of Covid-19, Wiernicki called for key training and regulation to be adapted to reflect the rapid change affecting shipping.
“Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) needs to be modernized and made fit for purpose. Even Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) needs to be updated because one of the big challenges that we face as an industry and that seafarers will face on vessels, is the unintended safety consequences that are going to come with change. Just think about it: zero carbon fuels, dynamic fields versus static fields, advanced electrification, innovative power trains, onboard decarbonization systems and active energy efficiency devices. It is no longer a kind of a linear, static world, there are a lot more levers for seafarers to pull on a vessel to meet the needs of the future from an environmental point of view.”


The full interview is available here.

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