In one of my articles, I stressed the importance of sharing information. I was so happy to hear the same thinking supported by number of people during Nor-Shipping 2017.
Wherever in the company hierarchy you might be, I am sure the story below will be the info for you to use as “lesson learnt”.
Let me share my experience of a near-miss and getting the crew out of a real dangerous situation. Without specifying names, I am sure this can be shared to be of use for companies who takes care of their people.
Once there took place hurricane which spread from the Caribbean to the United States and was unpredictable in its direction. The crew started their journey travelling from their countries of domicile one-two days before the crew change, which was planned to take place in South America. They left local airports in the Philippines, Ukraine and the UK and headed to the US. Airlines were open so they all proceeded with the routes. During the night, close to the morning hours the first e-mail message from US agent came. It said that they were experiencing heavy storm weather and there was indication of a hurricane. The message was read by all office staff involved in the crew change, in the morning, and the same was announced at once during the morning meeting.
Hectically checking where the crew was, we realised that Pilipino crew already left their local airport for Nassau, the airlines still did not consider the hurricane to be developing. Reasonably thinking, as airlines are willing to fly there, there should be no risk, you might think. But this was not the case.
During four long days, the Pilipino crew were struggling in Nassau as it was hit by the strong hurricane without electricity, internet or any other means of communication, moving from the hotel, arranged by the agent, to airport and back. Due to the strong winds one crew was close to being hit by a falling tree but by miracle just escaped.
Well, you will say… Its force majeure, natural disaster. And then again, nothing terrible happened, as everyone eventually got to the vessel. But it could end up differently.
So, this situation has become a trigger for the idea of development of digital tool allowing companies to track their crew while they are travelling and to be notified of any natural disasters or terror attacks, happening on the route of the crew, automatically and at all times. This tool will significantly reduce the risk of negative consequences and can potentially save lives. Read about the system we are working on in the next article.