SMS, the Holy Grail?

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JK
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SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby JK » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:37 pm

For anyone out of Canada, Lac Megantic was a huge railroad accident in Quebec caused by a train of tankers running away with no engineer onboard, derailing and exploding in the middle of a town.

http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opin ... in-at-odds

Once again, it's a company with a weak safety management, this time in rail, instead of the marine accidents we talk about here.
"Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board pointed to Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway’s weak safety management as a key cause of the accident"

The Westray coal mine explosion in 1992 had the same finds, The (NS Public enquiry) report stated that the mine was mismanaged, miners' safety was ignored, and poor oversight by government regulators led to the disaster. The government inspector was “forgetful “ on the stand.

EL Faro: NTSB :The company’s lack of oversight in critical aspects of safety management, including gaps in training for shipboard operations in severe weather, denoted a weak safety culture in the company and contributed to the sinking of El Faro"

Seewol: The New York Times reported that the company budget for the safety training of the crew was $2 USD, which was used to buy a paper certificate......Ovverloading, improper ballasting, steering gear issues, modification causing stability issues.

on and on, incident after incident.

If you do any reading, studies show 1 in 25 are sociopathic persons: a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

So, how in hell are safety systems going to work when you have someone with no regard for human life running the show. Profit over life, risk taking personalities who gamble that it will work.
Where did this SMS philosophy come from?
Did it evolve from the Herald of Free Enterprise and ISM?
Most of the time it works, but failures are spectacular.
Will it ever work? Is it a naive attempt to bandage a more complex problem? Are these accidents an anomoly, caused by that one guy in a key position?
Maybe someone can enlighten me, because I am at a loss how this is suppose to work.
It must, because planes aren't falling out of the sky!

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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby JollyJack » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:19 am

Seafarers have always been, are now and always will be disposable. That's why, when a tanker with 23 crew aboard catches fire and sinks, you hear about oiled birds and oil in the water, but not the seafarers who are missing.

That's why the most junior office girl or boy has more clout with office types than the most senior Captain at sea.

That's why a SAR boat with leaky exhausts keeps changing air intake filters at 100 hours instead of overhauling the engines. Seafarers can breath carbon monoxide, it doesn't matter if they drop dead, CCG can always get another one from the prison compound in Cape Breton.

And we must keep in mind, it's all about the money, and ONLY the money, all the time.
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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby D Winsor » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:23 am

There's more to this than just SMS it's the mindset of the management types that has taken over the decision making process and do not have a clear view of the "Big Picture". I'm sure most of us can remember what it was like before the magic boxes that collects and spews tons of sometimes useless information to management appeared on our desks and operational decisions were made on what was observed or "written" in log books and work books.

These magic boxes and a lot of useless information they contain has created a whole new industry for those who thrive on Data Mining and Micro Management like accountants and business administration types. Very few of these management types has or wants a clear view of the big picture any more. Decisions are now being made with one eye firmly on the "All Mighty Budget" and the other on protecting themselves and isolating their own little fiefdoms from any fallout. As a result decisions are being made on the fore-mentioned Data Mined useless information that is either inaccurate or out of context creating the catastrophic results for others that we hear and read about as it cascades down the line.
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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby Big Pete » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:07 pm

I have just read, in the January Edition of "The Marine Professional" the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology, Magazine, an article that exemplifies the above.
Maersk a reputable Global shipping company decided to tow two redundant Supply Boats from their Lay Up in Denmark to Turkey for scrapping. The route was through the North Sea, English Channel, Bay of Biscay and then through the Med.
They decided that the best way to tow the ships was to lash them side by side with some fenders between them and tow them both with one of their anchor crankers (A.H.T.S.)
They left Denmark on the 12th December 2016. During the passage both ships were rolling into each other and incurring damage, the fenders were soon destroyed and the vessels started to list towards each other. On the night of the 21st December the the Maersk Searcher capsized, and on the morning of the 20th she and the Maersk Shipper sank.
The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Report is a fascinating read I will try to scan it in later.

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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby JK » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:34 pm

unbelievable....I'm sure a towing captain was consulted in that fiasco (note sarcasm)

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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby Big Pete » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:42 am

Report04.pdf
(463.03 KiB) Downloaded 52 times
Report03.pdf
(581.49 KiB) Downloaded 45 times
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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:35 am

Yes, that is an interesting read BP, one of many accident report - Carnival fires, BP in Alaska, Emma Maersk, Costa Concordia, Bourbon Dolphin, etc, etc - that constantly point to razor thin margin of safeties made by inexperienced planning.

I've been meaning to make an article on my personal observations of the numerous accidents, that I feel the main problem is what JK is alluding at. There is a this belief that a third party is enough oversight (one that is paid by those being monitored -- not a conflict to exist there... no, not all possible). With that oversight, the companies sole purpose is to the test the limits of safe practices, beating out their competition - winning $$$. ...and if they overstep the boundary, then, it must be the regulator's fault - well, that task is not government's anymore, being delegated to commercial entities.

I believe this the way the system is set up now, push the boundaries until you can't no more - gambling. Whether its the bankers, sports, heads of states, the environment, we as a society seem to find this impressive - otherwise why would we put up with it. Despite being driven by egocentric ideals, the irony lies in the fact that these ideal so pervasive in society, especially in business school, are so harmful to the rest of humans. You would think that what's good for the individual would be good for all of us, but that is clearly not the case. Technology just allows us to reinforce that personal belief that we are independent of the effects others feels - a false sense of security. As we all know, every action has an impact on everything else, just because it is not measurable or immediately apparent does not make it so.

As JJ mentions is all about the money; yes, to a certain degree, but I believe its a deeper fault. Money is just a measurement; our individual need for acceptance, or whatever it is that drives us, is probably the driving factor. To me, all this points to a needed shift in our collective mindset, which is what we already know intrinsically, that poor people should be fed and housed, that obscene wealth is not right, that sick people should be healed, no good comes from wars - you know it, I know it, my kids know it. With that in mind, doing our work, should not cause us, or those around us, to die, or be sick.

We, as the blunt end of the action being engineers in industry, when it comes to trade - the tip of the business spear - are certain to see this philosophy first hand and its results, as JK points out. I hope I can influence the next generation to begin to alter course, to let them make decision that benefit humanity and its support system, instead of the few well connected bullies.

Like money is only a measurement, SMS is just a band aid - and clearly the band aid needs changing.
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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby Big Pete » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:49 am

Maybe the article, below, from the Times, dated Thursday 25th January 2018, helps to explain what happens.
It postulates that if Psychopaths rise to a position of power in any organisation, they then drive out everyone who isn't a psychopath.

It is a bit like Gresham's Law in Economics, (Gresham was a financial advisor to the Tudor Monarchy, in England)
He famously said that "Bad money drives out the Good" . Meaning that, in those days, Silver coins that had been "Clipped" or melted down and remade with a mixture of base metals, was so undesirable that if people got hold of good coinage they hoarded it rather than spending it, and only spent the bad money, this reduced the amount of money in circulation, causing deflation and recession.

Times Article05.jpg
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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby The Dieselduck » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:20 am

Excellent article. Yikes, yes i believe that is true from my experiences, although I never saw it from that perspective at the time. I have often seen this wolf pack mentality in certain workplaces.

Your comment and article, I think, highlights the car crash that is society and how, despite our distance, you are as much thinking about it as JK is on the East Coast of North America, or on the west coast, as I am. I think there is some positive in there, as there is a universal recognition that toxic people - despite being "cool headed and fearless" are creating workplaces lacking empathy and in consequence, dangerous.
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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby JK » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:14 am

That article validates some of what I have seen.
Before modern understanding of the brain and personalities, people would have said, Evil Begets Evil.
I have also noticed that having a certain type of Boss is an enabler to bad behaviour in the workplace. It is amazing what happens when one manager leaves and another comes in, it's like people lose their minds or something. I have seen this several times, but never really understood what was happening until I got more years under my belt.

I read somewhere that on Wall Street, sociopathic personalities are 1 in 10. Staggering,eh!?
What is even more concerning is that these types are looked at as good managers and are sought by some organizations. All you have to do is look at some of the questions. Consultation and empathy scores low, but those people that can go in and sort it out by clear cut, decisive actions (intimidation, screaming, manipulation perhaps? ) do much better. Some of the best men I've worked for, would probably be cut today from those organizations, as unfit for the position.

So you have a couple of guys running a ship, maximize profits, lower the maintenance, run it on the minimal Class standard, and manage the hefty risk, minimal manning with exhaused crew, have a Captain that is the same and takes even more risks and a watchkeeper and on and on....chilling stuff. Then you have the person at the coalface who's just trying to keep his responsibilities running.

Look at the Lac Megantic trial. All of the people actually doing the work were found innocent, because that brilliant jury recognized where the problem actually lay.

I don't even know if it is the money, or if it is the joy of the "game", getting around regulations, doing it because you can and not get caught, and being able to beat up on others mentally and not be sanctioned. Money would follow.

To me, all this points to a needed shift in our collective mindset, which is what we already know intrinsically, that poor people should be fed and housed, that obscene wealth is not right, that sick people should be healed, no good comes from wars - you know it, I know it, my kids know it. With that in mind, doing our work, should not cause us, or those around us, to die, or be sick. DieselDuck"

I agree with you on this, Martin. We would be considered niave and foolish by more than a few. Look at the screaming about raising the minimum wage...small business will die. Well if you can't pay a wage for your people to live on, you deserve to fail. I look at it as, paying a decent wage, means they will spend money tp aquire what they need...fancy that.

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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby JK » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:31 am

hahaha, now I have to go back and remeasure my kitchen because I forgot what it was, by zipping in here for just a sec...... :lol:

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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby Big Pete » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:24 am

Well Jk sometimes just a few seconds stretch out...Remember to measure twice and cut once!
I think that one thing that you and Martin have missed out on is the lack of PERSONAL Responsibility. Nobody looks at a situation to think if that is safe, they look at Class Rules, Flag State Rules, IMO Rules etc to see if it complies with MINIMUM Standards and so long as it does they feel completely absolved of any personal responsibility.
If it all goes to hell in a handcart it is the person who drew up the Rules who is to blame, maybe it is in part due to the decline in Religious belief, people no longer believe that at the end of their life they will cross examined on their behaviour before being admitted to heaven or sent down to the stoke hold.
You can have as many rules as you like but if the culture is to take every Legal Minimum and use it as your Maximum, and spend fortunes on Tax Advisers and Lawyers to find ways to circumvent the intention of the Rules, they might as well not have been written.

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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby JK » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:59 am

I don't think religion has anything to do with it because their God is something else and they don't care about what happens after.

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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby Big Pete » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:47 am

I agree they don't have a Religion or believe in God, that is my point, when people did they expected to be called to Judgement and have to justify all their actions in life to St Peter before being sentenced to Hell, or Purgatory to do penance for their failures. Unless they were perfect and went straight to Heaven. My Father was an Agnostic and so am I but we were both brought up to behave as if we would be judged at the end of our lives, but that cultural force is not surviving independently of Religion, I used to assume that it would because it was so deeply imbued in our culture.
However, modern Media based culture is totally hedonistic and irresponsible and that is what shapes peoples behaviour now, rather than the teachings of the Church.
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Re: SMS, the Holy Grail?

Postby JK » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:37 am

Yes, exactly. The books I’ve read talks about how in eastern cultures, there is the same ratio of sociopaths but it is culturally unacceptable so they are expected to conform or go. So they conform. Religious values would do the same, I would think.


I know this is not that simple.
These are very complex issues. But, at the end of the day does it not come down to a handful of people who are making a deliberate choice? Or an incompetent decision, because they have no idea that they are incompetent?
Beancounters rule the world, after all. Profit is god.

As what BP pointed out, what about personal responsibility? As a friend once said, I never want someone to have someone walk up and say, you killed my Dad, or you killed my Mom because you’re so damn incompetent. When I did ship repair it was always in the back of my mind, what I do or don’t do can impact everyone on that ship. That was one reason I had to change jobs, walking the line between money and deciding the priorities repairs for that cycle got really old, fast. It’s easy to make a policy from a distance but to follow it closeup is a lot harder.

Just throwing this out there for your thoughts. We all see problems and issues from our personal experiences and perspective.


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