6/21/2018: Posidonia 2018 – The role of safety management systems in the next chapter of shipping

In the fourth and final post in our series covering Coast Guard participation in Posidonia earlier this month, we share a condensed version of remarks by Rear Adm. John Nadeau to a group of young maritime professionals and junior seafarers on the next chapter of shipping and the impacts of digitalization and the role of safety management systems.

Safety Management Systems and the Impacts of Digitalization

“Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak to you today. You are the future of the maritime industry and it is a great honor.

Ships are becoming more technologically complex, autonomy is on the horizon and cyber vulnerabilities abound. As this new paradigm unfolds, and as ships become more connected, the Coast Guard sees both challenges and windows of opportunity.

We all must think about the implications of this ever-changing industry. The connected ship may streamline inspections and maintenance requirements, and it may help the ship operate more efficiently and with a reduced carbon footprint. It may allow for the transfer of some responsibilities to shore, reducing manning requirements. Regardless, it will require companies to think about their business and operations in new ways.

It will also require the Coast Guard to change our way of thinking. As we seek to open windows for these advancements, we may have to turn our attention away from the proscriptive regulations of the past and lean more heavily on safety management systems as a means to address risk. For this to happen, the industry must continue to promote a strong culture of safety.

With this in mind, safety management systems will be a compliance focus for the Coast Guard in the coming years, and we are currently working on policy that will help companies develop and implement effective safety management system solutions for this rapidly changing future. Internationally, we also need to refocus our sights and continue to work with member states on this issue at IMO. One recent example of this was our push to require companies to address cyber vulnerabilities in their SMS by January of 2021.

The world is becoming increasingly complex. We all know change is inevitable and constant. But it seems the pace of change is increasing. On a smaller scale, just consider the cell phone you have in your pocket or bag right now, compared to five years ago. Even that technology will be obsolete five years from now. Our regulatory regimes must evolve to meet this pace of change. We are diligently working to reduce compliance costs without diminishing safety. We are always mindful of our need to safely facilitate commerce, and not impede it.

Thank you.”

(Left) Dr V. Tyrogalas, Director of Martechnic Navigation Ltd; Dr N. Liapis, Supply and Operations Director of ELINOIL S.A.; Dr G. Gratsos, Chairman of HELMEPA; Rear Adm. John Nadeau, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy of the US Coast Guard; P. Zachariadis, Technical Director of Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd and Member of HELMEPA’s Board of Directors; C. Røjgaard, Global Technical Manager of Bureau Veritas. Dr. Gratsos presented commemorative diplomas to the speakers in recognition of their contribution to the conference.

Editor’s note: We hope you’ve enjoyed our series covering Rear Adm. Nadeau’s remarks during Posidonia. As always, we welcome your comments and ideas!

Read the other posts in our Posidonia 2018 series.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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