N2 People Skills

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Superyachts in the Face of Shipping - Exploring Contributions and the Maritime Industry

Rule Making - Choice,  join in the process or only follow the outcome -

The headline above and paragraph below comes from a post of the Face of Shipping web site.

"Whether or not we like it, STCW along with other standards, minimum or otherwise are here to stay. As often commented seafarers’ voices are missing in the making of the rules. However, seafarers can join organizations and have their views put forward through them. Technology provides "sailing seafarers" the opportunity shape the environment in which they work."

With 2012 comes STCW 2010 Manila Amendments, and MLC 2006 not far behind. What voice did Superyacht owners and crew have when these were drafted. Was it a case that many owners and crew did not belong to an organization, union, or club, and so did not have a voice ?

In the past Superyacht crew and owners had little need to deal with regulatory institutions or compliance. Employing a Captain and crew required little more than a verbal agreement and a handshake. Yachting was viewed as a sport, a pastime.
Owners did not have to deal with such things as:

  • Employee benefits 
  • Background checks
  • Drug testing
  • Wrongful termination issues
  • Hours of work and rest
  • Vacation time
  • Personal space - or any compliance issues for that matter.

But times have changed, the superyacht world has seen immense growth in many places:

  • Yacht length
  • Tonnage
  • Crew complement
  • Accidents
  • Loss of life
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Insurance claims 
  • Cost of ownership

The once low-key pastime of the wealthy, and sport of Kings has evolved into a multimillion, or billion dollar world. Online sites and magazines abound:

News, articles, and views of lavish interiors, stories of owners, Captains, and crew,  forums around the more human factors of what has become a big business, the Superyacht industry.

Of course this also means that Governments and authorities take notice, some formulate new taxes and impose high dues on yachts chartering in their waters. (Again places where owners, brokers and crews voices could make a difference if they had weight behind them.)

The MLC 2006 and STCW 2010 Manila Amendments were generated for, and with input from, the Maritime industry. Perhaps the Maritime industry did not know how to deal with the Superyacht, and simply swept it into the bucket with shipping. Whatever the case, (and even though many items were overdue in the industry), one has to think that owners and crew alike, would prefer having more input up front.

That said both crews and owners may be well advised to research available organizations, associations and clubs and become more involved in the industry as it becomes more regulated.

With PYA, ISS, USSA, MIASF and Nautilus for the seafarer and business, SYBASS for builders, AYCA and MYBA for charter agents and brokers, and YCCSYCM, and  NYYC amongst others as clubs for owners. It is about finding and joining the right one for you, so your voice gets heard and counted. For owners it also gives them another place to find other owners with similar interests, the old club of choice was the RYS but that has some real ties and issues as to Flag.

Is this all really necessary now.

Consider this; the MLC 2006 (article VII) refers to "Consultation with shipowners' and seafarers' organizations" and mentions this several times in the convention. The International Labor office, say the working of the convention is “under continuous review”. To date environmental issues have only just started to be talked about. The choice is yours, be heard, or let the dice fall as they may.

If you want your voice counted, your views included and would rather not be told what you can, or can not do; getting involved is imperative.