Human Element

The Human Element in the work of the IMO

The lone figure standing atop the international memorial to seafarers outside the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is symbolic of the importance that
IMO attaches to the human element in shipping – the complex multi-dimensional issue that involves the entire spectrum of human activities performed by ships’ crews, shore based management, regulatory bodies and others.

An analysis of 187 instances of groundings and collisions carried out by IMO’s Sub- Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) indicates that, in 150 cases, or some 80 per cent, the human element was a contributory factor. Broadly equivalent results have emerged from similar
analyses and fatigue has emerged as a significant factor in maritime accidents – along with others such as communication,competence, culture, experience, health, situational awareness, loneliness, isolation, stress and working conditions.

About the author

Capt. Lech Nowinski

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