This is a topic that has been appearing in our news feed recently but, why is that?The Maritime shipping industry has been adapting to the growth in technology regarding shipping tech and the digitization of communication platforms. Ships have become more advanced with greater connectivity, integrated controls and power management. We have even heard from those that dream of autonomous ships!
What does this mean for seafarers?
Seafarers are at the heard of the maritime shipping industry. Regardless of the level of technical capabilities a ship may have, there is still an extremely strong need for qualified seafarers on board ships. As technology is moving faster, the maritime industry cannot afford to slow down meaning the skills a seafarer now requires have changed. Not only are they required to their knowledge to involve technology-based learning but also retain more traditional maritime knowledge.
Is there a technology gap between seafarers?
We are seeing 2 distinct types of seafarers generally separated by age. For many of the younger generation of seafarers technology has become an intrinsic part of their day to day lives while the older generation of seafarers are not so reliant. This can leave a slight disconnect between the two.
How can we begin to align the different capabilities of seafarers?
Technology is nothing new to seafarers and the maritime industry. Complicated technology has been used for decades on board ships across the world. However, the difference we are seeing with technology now is that the type of technology being used has increased at such a fast rate that it is no longer second nature for those used to more traditional shipping.
How can seafarer training change?
Offering consistent training on all new features and changes to tech seems like the obvious solution, right? Are shipowners willing to invest heavily in this? Training for seafarers should be changing the same as it has in every other industry, specifically with a string focus on STEM competences (science, technology, engineering, and math). And the reason for this is that it’s a basic for any industry. Digital systems require that you have a certain understanding or level of experience with STEM. Not only should a seafarer be familiar with technology but there should also be a focus on emotional intelligence and understanding of critical thinking in order to make longer journeys at sea easier to deal with.
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