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Although ship operations are teemed with procedures and technical capacity, in the end, it is the awareness and the behavior of people onboard that could make a difference in ship safety, said Theo Klimp, Fleet Director of Wagenborg Shipping, during an exclusive interview with SAFETY4SEA at Europort, Rotterdam in early November.

“The biggest problem within shipping companies is that people are familiar with this kind of work and do not realize anymore that most of the work they do onboard is dangerous… We have to try to get into their minds that they first have to think before they act, and that is a long way.”

Mr. Klimp namely highlighted that it is difficult for the industry to achieve a safety culture, as most of crews have been working at sea for many years now and are routine-based. This change could take time.

“What I would like to hear onboard my company’s vessels is that an AB is telling the Captain: ‘We are in the middle of a loading operation. Why aren’t you wearing your helmet? Could you please go back to the recommendation?’ and the Captain will not say ‘I am the Captain here. You are only the AB.’ This could change, but we are not there yet.”

When asked of the major developments for his company over the last months, Mr. Klimp referred to the Wagenborg’s entry into the icebreaking service in the Arctic, north Canada this year, as well as to the launch of the award-winning sustainable vessel ‘Egbert Wagenborg’ of the new ‘EasyMax’ type.

The ‘EasyMax’ type’s optimal hull shape offers low resistance, which results in a minimized fuel consumption of 9 tonnes a day at 11 knots. The vessel is a light construction, as the whole accommodation is integrated in the bulk construction, without the large super-structure on the outfit, which helps reducing the centre of gravity, with good aerodynamics.

Mr. Klimp presented feedback from the vessel’s Captain who said that the Egbert Wagenborg is behaving very quietly in North Atlantic with heavy seas.

Further, Mr. Klimp noted that sustainability is currently a key issue for the industry and explained that his company has taken all necessary steps to comply with the many regulations that have popped up. Concerning that Wagenborg shipping owns many vessels in its fleet, Mr. Klimp said compliance is not an easy decision.

‘’Installing equipment in each vessel requires a lot of money, therefore, you have to take the right decision’’ he stated.

Concluding his comments, Mr. Klimp urged operators to keep on innovating and investing in people towards implementing a safety culture successfully.