Ferry Business - Autumn/Winter 2022

9 0 INTERV IEW A new standard Peter Broadhurst talks with Alex Smith about safety in the shipping industry and how Inmarsat’s new Fleet Safety solution can help improve crews’ ability to address incidents The sea can be a dangerous place without proper precautions. Ensuring the safety of a ship is an essential part of sailing, no matter what sector of the shipping industry an operator is working in. However, it’s difficult to assess just how safe the industry is. A lack of standard industry measures means that there is little evidence to compare operator’s performance against, leading to a lack of visibility around the topic outside of internal tracking measures. To address this issue, mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat has analysed calls to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), the worldwide system for automated emergency signal communication for ships, between 2019 and 2021. Its findings were published in The Future of Maritime Safety report in June. “We don’t really have any true indicators around safety,” says Peter Broadhurst, senior vice president at Inmarsat. “There’s no one place to go for statistics concerning safety, and without those measurements nobody can know if it’s being improved. I think everyone would recognise safety as being both important and hard to maintain, so what Inmarsat is trying to do with this report is provide some transparency around what’s happening and hopefully drive up the level of safety for the seafarer.” Despite finding an overall increase in distress calls across the shipping industry, the report found that passenger shipping was among the safest sectors, with only 13 calls over the researched period. Though the reduction in operations caused by the pandemic is likely to have played a part in lowering numbers, operators have also placed a particular focus in addressing safety concerns, says Broadhurst. “ Lessons can be learned by all of us to improve safety levels to where they need to be”