Vol 72, No 3 (2021)
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Published online: 2021-09-29

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Analysis of the implementation of the International Safety Management Code using motivation theory: the seafarer’s views

Tem Suzie-Solange Mbong1, Despena Andrioti Bygvraa1
Pubmed: 34604985
IMH 2021;72(3):172-178.


Background: “Safety First!” as it is always said, safety is a primary concern in any human activity. Shipping, one of the most dangerous industries in the world demands the establishment and implementation of safety rules, regulations and standards. Before the International Safety Management (ISM) Code was adopted and came into effect, the maritime industry experienced catastrophic disasters which resulted in loss of life and property. The occurrence of huge marine casualties triggered maritime safety rules, regulations and standards at an international level. International maritime safety standards are meant to create uniformity in safety rules and regulations. Human errors are considered the most important reason for maritime accidents. The ISM Code has been established to clarify the responsibilities of safety on vessels and to mitigate the occurrence of human errors by creating a safety-oriented organizational culture. There is still a question of whether this culture is actively practised by shipping companies. Through the lens of Kanter’s theory of structural empowerment and Alderfer’s theory of employee motivation, this study sought to explore seafarers’ views and perceptions of the implementation of the ISM Code.
Materials and methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 6 participants (4 seafarers and 2 resource maritime industry persons). The interviews with seafarers took place on the 22nd of October, 2019. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to describe the views of the participants in relation to the implementation of the ISM Code on their ship in the following areas: communication, organizational commitment, management involvement, reporting system, and empowerment of employees
Results and conclusions: The participants pointed out that with the implementation of ISM Code the maritime personnel’s safety attitudes have improved. The employees enthusiastically participate in safety meetings and trainings. The organization on board is more open, so is the communication between officers and the crew. Working on board is nowadays teamwork instead of being autocratic.

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