Building crew of the future
Espen Sending, Vice President - Marine Personnel, Wilhelmsen Ship Management
Shipping has been evolving faster in the recent decade than ever before as more digital applications and equipment are being installed in ships to automate operations and improve safety.
As our digital agenda takes shape in ship management, it is important to note that seafarers are an important equation to achieve a holistic maritime digital ecosystem.
Listening to our crew
WSM ran a survey with our global crew sailing on our managed vessels for their feedback and ideas for digitalization.
Our survey revealed a willing crew with progressive mindsets. They welcome digitalization and see this as opportunity for self-development. We received so many suggestions on how technology can help them with their work on board and we are happy to shortlist some very good ideas to make them real.
Sundeep Dhaliwal, General Manager for LPG/LNG Group, Wilhelmsen Ship Management
The way to digitalization
As we continue to develop our infrastructure both at shore and onboard, we must consider the requirements by our stakeholders at every level – including crew.
According to survey results, our crew look forward to new technologies that can help them work effectively and improve their welfare. We do not lose sight of human appeal in our roadmap to digitalization. It is always our plan to incorporate the needs of our crew into the digital transition.
Preparing our crew for new technology
Seafarers must learn to adapt and adopt new environments. It is more important now than ever before to develop their critical thinking skills through our training programs.
Our in-house competence development team constantly evaluates training plans based on:
- Feedback from shipboard management review
- Authority requirements
- Market requirements – automation, new technologies onboard
- Vessel budget
- Customer’s specific requirements
Our competence development team takes proactive measures to “future proof” our training matrix so that our crews’ skill sets are updated concurrently with the increased automation on board.
World-class training centre
We have upgraded our maritime training centre with the latest simulators. It is important to establish a solid yet scalable infrastructure in our training facilities to embrace change.
This way, as newer automation/technologies are introduced, additional software and hardware (new components) can be added on the existing infrastructure.
We are constantly in dialogue with equipment makers for new developments. As part of delivering impactful and relevant training to the crew, we are putting trainers on board for a short period to bridge the “practical vs theoretical” gap.
One of the simulators at our International Maritime Training Centre.
Crew of the future
As driverless cars begin to trail the land, digitally controlled ships are not far behind. Data engineers will become part of the crew requirement list for sophisticated vessels, initiating new roles and opportunities on board.
Data science skills will also become an essential element for crewing as more operational decisions are made based on diagnostics derived by from data applications.
Own caricature: Is this the future hero of the sea?
Not an expense, but an investment
We see crew training and development as part of managing and maintaining our “asset”. Providing competent and reliable crew is a big part of our ship management business and we spare no efforts in giving them the best training opportunities.
Espen Sending - Vice President, Marine Personnel, Wilhelmsen Ship Management