09 Apr A new Tale ‘Once upon a Cruise’
Message from our focal point Cruise David Frassetto
Is there a tale that you would like to tell to your children and grand children, that they will tell to their children and so on?
My tale will not be about fairy, elves, kings, and queens but it will be entitled ‘Once upon a Cruise’. In my story, I will tell how the pandemic had changed us, how it did change our habits and routines, in the way we relate with others. Furthermore, how we have been denuded from things that we were paying little or no attention to, as they seemed normal and were often given for granted until the pandemic had stroke us with devastating effects, both physically and psychologically.
How many of us have realized, how much needed is the freedom of movement, travelling around the globe and the benefits of leisure, to find relaxation and entertainment for our own sake and the sake of the whole society?
Of course, my tale cannot be told without mentioning my fondness for the Sea and for the Cruise Industry. There is of course a sad beginning of the story, where the halt of cruise vessels had contributed to deprive people passionate about sailing across the oceans from what they did love doing the most during their leisure time.
From no sailing orders and ships refused to enter ports, fear towards cruise vessels as if they were like some sort of ‘Lazzaretto’, to extreme efforts in adopting unprecedent measures to make cruising safe, to extended periods spent at anchor and in ports and the impact all this had on Cruising Organisations, Seafarers and the Global Economy.
Reasonably, in these times the focus has largely shifted towards the pandemic and how to prevent a virus outbreak on cruise vessels when returning to service. This is of course of utmost importance for the safety of the guests and the public opinion that will follow, vital for the survival of the industry.
Besides the efforts and great minds who have come to ingenious ideas about health protocols implementation, my thoughts are also going to all the seafarer on board and the ones awaiting the call to resume operations with excitement and a bit of anxiety.
Where excitement is something easy to detect, anxiety is often hidden either by personal traits or by choice.
But what could seafarers be anxious about?
Did you ever have the feeling or thoughts, ‘will I be up to the job? It has been long time since I have done this last, will my skills and competencies still up to standards? I feel a bit rusty or, I am afraid I forgot many things etc…’.
More than ever before, training is an important aspect for Officers and Crew for a smooth resumption of operations. Although the economic burden the pandemic has caused to Cruise Organisations, it should be at least given due consideration and try to put ourselves in their shoes. If I were to join a vessel, a training would help me to regain confidence and ensure that skills and competencies meet the desirable levels for the safety of the Guests, Crew, and the Vessel.
A good learning opportunity was offered by some recent events occurred to cruise vessels whilst anchoring off the Southern coasts of the UK where several anchors’ failures were experienced (ref. UK-MCA Safety Bulletin 1/2021 – Multiple cruise ship anchor failures). Knowing that technical failures can happen anytime, Officers and Crew could still benefit from trainings for types of operations that are unusual to them so to understand related risks and preventive measures to minimize them.
The prolonged pause of operations certainly had an impact on the Officers and Crew morale, but equally important, this had a detrimental effect on a certain set of skills and mindset which have probably decayed over time, whether it is for an arrival and departure operation or navigating through challenging waters.
Not only individuals might feel their comfort zone had reduced, but also the entire Bridge and Engine Teams when working back together may find hard communicating and coordinating effectively with one another. As Bridge Resource Management (BRM) and Engine room Resource Management (ERM)it`s a key to success, in critical ship’s operations, it is essential that the teams involved, are naturally and effectively applying the principles and techniques to restore the robust safety net very much needed.
Non-technical skills, essential ingredients in the BRM and ERM have to go hand in hand with the technical skills, hence it shouldn’t be neglected to the Officers and Crew, the opportunity to revive their skills and ability to handle the vessel safely and to use the equipment the way it has been designed for.
It is of course a time where, besides the economic pressure, restrictions to free movement of people are making face to face training courses difficult to organise and to attend. Although, until today in classroom and full mission simulators were proven to be highly effective, we should not neglect the benefits of training to the whole seafaring community as this might have consequences and unwanted events in the future.
With the above in mind and because the safety of the vessels operated by our clients is of paramount importance, Simwave has been striving throughout the period of the pandemic to develop its own Learning Management System that is unique in all its aspects, including the integration of advanced technological features that will bring the remote learning to an all-new level.
At Simwave, we are proud to have taken a leap ahead not by simply providing Computer Based Trainings, as we have seen in the many learning and development programs in several industries, but ensuring instead, that participants enrolled into one of our courses, are truly feeling a unique learning experience in a remote setup from on board their vessels to the comfort of their homes and more importantly at their own pace, learning something that is applicable to their area of responsibility.
Simwave wants her clients to have competent people on board and to ensure that we are capable of providing you with all the necessary support, embarking together onto a new journey towards brighter days.
The narrative is not over yet and like any self- respecting tale needs to have a happy ending.
Many pages are still blank and are just waiting to be written with a fresh ink. What will be written is yet to be seen and who will hold the quill will decide how happy this tale will end.
My ideal happy ending will be a safe return to cruising very soon and that guests will be excited to finally board the vessel again knowing that they are in good hands and are taken care of more than ever.
I would be pleased to hear from you whether it is for booking one of our courses, or it is simply to know more about what Simwave can offer to you and find out how we can provide you with tailor made programs that fit your needs.