Connections Magazine

Summer 2013 Connections

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Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Students – Pacific Maritime Institute (MITAGS-PMI). In this two-day training program, the mariners learn how to use interactive simulators that resemble ship bridges and tug wheelhouses, and are outfitted with similar navigation controls. The participants are given voyage plans related to their sector of the industry and are then monitored by two Crowley compliance managers and a representative from MITAGS-PMI as they perform their simulated jobs. The observation helps to identify critical areas in which mariners may need further training or improvement, which in turn helps mitigate real safety risks. The assessments are considered so essential to safety that even Crowley executives, including the company's senior leadership team and Chairman and CEO Tom Crowley, have participated in the simulator training. This allows them to fully understand the impact of what they're asking of the company's crews. "These assessments help us to identify skill levels throughout the fleet in the crucial areas of navigation and watch keeping. It also helps deck officers understand and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses," said Craig. The program was implemented by Crowley does a lot to promote safety for us, but at the end of the day it's up to us. The objective is for each and every one of us to go home to our families. That's what we practice for. Captains Joseph Sohlberg and Bren Wade, two experienced mariners who were recruited as Crowley managers of marine compliance. After the assessment, which is recorded, the compliance managers review the results with each mariner to determine any areas in which he or she may need additional training or corrective action. "We're looking at how they handle everything, from a watch change to traffic situations. How they manage to steer the vessel and maintain a course, awareness and how they're using the equipment," said Sohlberg. "We want to send them back out to the fleet with a greater awareness … and I think we're accomplishing that." To date Crowley has put 524 of its 650 deck officers and captains through the navigation assessment, which began in late 2011. "When you look at the industry, we're really the only organization that is running an assessment program quite like this," said Bill Anderson, director of the Pacific Maritime Institute. "And Crowley's the only organization that we know of that has used it so aggressively. You can tell it's an industry-leading aspect of the training they're doing." Walking the Walk Crowley's industry-leading approach to safety and training has put systems in place for mariners to conduct safety operations, but what happens after the training is what matters most. "Crowley does a lot to promote safety for us, but at the end of the day it's up to us," said Forest "Lee" Graves, chief engineer aboard the Chief. "The objective is for each and every one of us to go home to our families. That's what we practice for." story continued in top right column 24 At a Glance: Recent Crowley Rescues January 7, 2013 ATB Achievement/650-8 Where: Tampa Bay, Fla. Date: Vessel/Crew: The crew doesn't hesitate to help after seeing a man struggling to stay afloat near Tampa's Skyway Bridge. Putting their emergency and safety training to use, they readied the vessel's fast rescue boat for deployment while the captain slowed the ATB's speed to ensure a safe boat launch. Despite windy conditions and rough chop, the Crowley team managed to pull the badly injured man from the water in less than eight minutes from the initial sighting and wrapped him in a blanket until the St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue boat arrived on scene to perform other lifesaving treatments.

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