Creation of an Innovative Forum

A unique and pioneering forum took place on the 7th of March 2019, which was held at the YACHT CLUB OF GREECE, powered by Elvictor Group.

This forum is set to take place every year, with a variety of new thematic sections to be introduced every year, following the evolution of the sector and technology.

In the forum of 2020, additional participants from various sectors of the shipping industry will take part, covering more sectors of the maritime economy that either directly or indirectly affect or are being affected by crew matters.

This annual forum will act as a guide and a brief annual conclusion of innovations that take part in the maritime industry that are interrelated with the human factor. Focus is going to be given to the crew factor and the developments of Elvictor Group, showcasing new innovations and amendments in technology and procedures.

This forum is a “closed doors” forum and selected companies are going to be attendees from various sectors of the maritime sector.

This forum will be linked to the innovations of Elvictor Group, spearheaded by Mr. Constantinos S Galanakis, and the maritime portal “THINK TANK ORDER”, which is going to be launched in June 2019, where members will be able to interact, exchange ideas, news, suggestions and provide their know-how on daily basis.

PURPOSE

The purpose of the forum was an invitation to the “New Crew Order” that passes from the old-fashioned processes and beliefs to the new digitalized era, which forms the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Constantinos S Galanakis, CEO of Elvictor

Elvictor is driven by evolution and innovation, results of flexibility and independent thought. Adaptation to change should be a prime concern for the maritime industry, especially in the sensitive sector of Crew Management & Recruitment.

Agenda

The impact of crew competence, that has to do with the “New Approach on Crew Awareness in VIQ7”, was presented by Mr. Alexandros Vennis, DPA/SQE at Salmar Shipping Ltd, highlighting the most important sections of the revised SIRE VIQ7 that came into force on September 17th of 2018, and has received its first revision on the 18th of February 2019.

He presented to the point by identifying firstly the new chapters Chapter 4 “Navigation and Communications” and Chapter 7 “Security”, then the amended Chapters, where the previous Chapter 7 (Structural Condition) was integrated under Chapter 2 “Certification and Documentation” and the near totally revised by 75% Chapter 9 on “Mooring”, including the New MEG4 requirements as well as Mooring Plan.

Important elements of the VIQ7 update were that most questions contained in VIQ6 were revised and VIQ7 signaled “A New Philosophy” which is based on 50% of documented evidence and 50% on Crew Knowledge and Awareness Directed! This signals the focus on crew matters more than it was in the past.
Mr. Alexandros Vennis
VIQ 6 VIQ 7
AWARE 21 Times 87 Times
FAMILIAR 24 Times 54 Times
KNOWLEDGE 8 Times 13 Times
TRAINING 60 Times 82 Times

It is now clear more than ever that the word Awareness has the higher emphasis with 414% growth in words/mentions in VIQ7, Familiarization is double in words than in VIQ6 with 225% growth in words/mentions, Knowledge of Crew is required to VIQ7 by 61.5% more words/mentions and Training with a ratio of 136% in words/mentions. Needless to say that the work of a Crew Manager is becoming the epicenter of today’s inspections.

Concluding his presentation, Mr. Vennis pointed out the eleven (11) most important remedies that will enhance the operation of the vessel and be ready for a successful vetting.

Mrs. Sara Johns Managing Director of Shipserve (International Inc.), presented thoroughly P&I and Classification Society Concerns on the Human Factor.
© Sara Jones. P&I and Classification Society concerns on the Human Factor.
Mr. Branko Krzaric, Director of Lanibra d.o.o. and former ITF Inspector with a huge knowledge and experience in crew matters, presented MLC related issues faced by Ship-Owners in Ports.
© Branko Krzari. MLC related issues faced by Ship-owners in Ports.

There are often issues with Port State Control, Flag State Inspectors, Maritime / Immigration Police and ITF / ITF Inspectors / Unions as such in ports that require immediate assistance and intervention in relation to the MLC 2006 and crew matters.

Mr. Branko elaborated on the issues faced by Cadets, the duration of their employment and shipboard service period and the ILO MLC constraints on the onboard sea service and implications.

Mr. Constantinos S Galanakis, CEO of Elvictor Group, presented the vision of Elvictor, how he and his team managed to redefine crew management, presenting simply “Thinking Out Of The Box” tactics, that are driven by operational efficiency through the efficient use of technology.

The focus was on how Elvictor Group redefined the recruitment operations, using an alternative way of screening and selection that is centralized, bolstering documenting and transparency of operations and leading to the ultimate control of global branches.
Mr. Constantinos S Galanakis, CEO of Elvictor Group

He presented mechanisms and the use of algorithms that are applied by Elvictor Group, where dynamic databases in the cloud system of Elvictor, “artificially” and “automatically” cross check the validity and authenticity of the previous sea services of the seafarer in question.

Document Management was a discrete, and at the same time, popular addition to his presentation. Mechanisms that upgrade the economies of scale of the Principals were presented, demonstrating that the system is allocating skilled seafarers that possess (over and above STCW, travelling, flag, visas) documentation, to the Principals that request them. Qualitative and Quantitative metrics perform the optimum allocation, proving that there is no discrimination in the system of Elvictor, neither to any Principal (no matter his size and history) nor to any seafarer (new crew or ex crew).

The Vision of Elvictor Group is to be innovative, by being fully transparent, seeking continuously for pinnacle quality and value increase of the service it provides.

Mr. Constantinos S Galanakis believes that the future is “collaboration” and the optimum level can only be achieved with the use of advanced technologies and the proper insertion of the know-how into the cloud systems. These combined with API interaction, will rend dynamic interaction between the users of all parties seamless.

He proved that knowledge and know-how is not enough if numbers/figures (KPIs), benchmarking and technological tools are not in the Crew Manager’s toolbox.

An enlightened presentation was the one of Prof. Nikitas Nikitakos, Shipping Informatics and New Technologies in the University of Aegean that went through the subject of “From Digitalization to AI: A new approach on Effective Crewing Strategiest”.

Prof. Nikitas Nikitako
Artificial Intelligence is born, and human know-how should be injected into technology, so that technology can guide the users to perform complicated tasks in an environment full of complexity, new regulations, amended and upcoming regulations, with total success and speed.

Relations in the workplace will become more standardized than individualized, the work performance will become more attainable, the labor force shortage gap may be covered by technological advances and the work environment will change to a more standardized and controlled environment.

A ship manager’s perspective on crew management matters could not be out of the agenda and is one of the most important contributions to the forum. This was clearly supported and presented by Captain Konstantinos Voulgaris DPA/HSQE/Vetting Manager of Benetech Shipping S.A.

He points out that the most important elements for the VIQ7 is the ability to show, explain and demonstrate, shifting the responsibility to the manning agencies, thus intelligent logistics are needed to cope with the collaboration between the Ship Manager/Owner and the Crew Manager/Manning Agent.

Knowledge is being tested and certification or training documentation does not mean anything, because competence is gradually being tested on sight and the inspector will check if the seafarer is able to apply and is familiar with the procedures described in the Company’s SMS.

New-Models and intelligent criteria for screening and selection will be needed, in order to provide justified documented evidence of the screening and selection of the candidate.

Collaboration tools are essential for the Crew Manager/ Manning Agent to perform efficiently various operations simultaneously, and, in general, technology is indispensable to the structure and documentation of evidence. Actions to avoid observations and additional mitigation of handling deficiencies, in order to go in line with the safety culture set out by VIQ7.

Mr. Christos Tzoutzakis, CTO of Elvictor Group, has presented the implementation of Elvictor’s AI today.

He presented the live interaction of Principals with their pool, the tools of managing the pool cohesion and the sustainability of the crew pool retention, the proactive and the reactive tools that Elvictor provides in their toolbox, and future tools that will be ready by the end of 2019. A clear and transparent coupling of the Principal with his/her seafarers eschewing electronic bureaucracy, stemmed with full control and decision-making tools.

Mr. Tzoutzakis, started his presentation by illustrating how the proposed candidates are evaluated online through the Elvictor platform, documenting the accuracy of previous sea services, key performance indicators, documented evidence of the previous sea services and transparent document management. On another point, he demonstrated how technology can beneficially assist on decision making and swift evaluation of the proposed seafarer online, by making use of graphical representations on the career path, experience in specific engine brands and types, experience in vessel types, tonnages and age of the vessels. Online provision of officer matrix and Principal Requirements online live checklist was also an important feature of the collective process.

© Christos Tzoutzakis. Crew Management Digitalization Presentation.

He presented a list of online tools that are user friendly and self-trained components that anyone can use and produce the scheduling of their crew recruitment, like training, promotion, disembarkation, teleconference, briefing etc. and the logs of said actions.

Important online reports are provided in various filter-ready excel files provided by us, for offline use by the crew managers of Elvictor’s Principals.

Concluding, he went through a wide range of tools that may be used in numerous recruitment stages, verifying the transparency of Elvictor’s platform, the reporting intelligence, the minimization of man hours, the control that each Principal has over Elvictor’s procedures and operations and the seamless interaction the Principal has with his own pool of seafarers without electronic bureaucracy, calls or old-fashioned practices.

Mr. Achilleas Choursoglou Advisory at Information Technology presented “Social Media, Internet, Cyber Security and Seafarers” and how these are important elements to the new generation of the seafarers.

© Mr. Achilleas Choursoglou. Social Media, Internet, Cyber Security and Seafarers
Technology is essentially a double-edged knife. It can be used for competitive advantage, but may also result in self-inflicted damage
Mr. Achilleas Choursoglou

Guidelines and training should be given to the seafarers on how to use the internet onboard, because there may be cases where they can bring high risk to the operation and safety of the vessel. When seafarers are onboard, the use of social media to share vessel’s position or take videos and photos is ill-advised, as it may be a source that pirates could abuse.

Hacking is a threat to every connected device nowadays, especially to a vessel. The seafarers’ network onboard should be separated from the business network with the Principal company and the technological appliances onboard, in order not to risk the aforementioned.

Principals should provide low to no cost internet to their crew, to keep them satisfied, which is a very important and beneficial factor for their crew retention. Designated places should be used for internet connectivity and dangerous sites should be blocked by the Principal’s IT administration. Hardware and software protection like firewalls and antivirus systems should be in place and limitation of internet usage should be a different Plan in the SMS Manual with detailed procedures and precautions.

Port State Control on Crew Competence was a further addition to the forum and was presented by Mr. John Couyou, Marine Management Systems Auditor and Senior Surveyor at Bureau Veritas.
© Mr. John Couyou. PORT STATE CONTROL FOCUS ON CREW COMPETENCE

A clear view of how the Port State Control assesses Crew Competence and the areas for improvement helps Principals become risk-averse, were the highlights of his presentation. Crew Competence affects various sectors and segments of the maritime industry and the future maritime regulations should further elaborate and focus more strictly on Crew Competence.

Concerning Crew Training, especially Lessons Learnt from Maritime Accidents, was presented by Dr. John Kokarakis, Technical Director at Bureau Veritas. He listed accidents that are caused by human error, presented attributes for good investigation and that accidents are mainly caused by a synergy of various factors.

Mr. Yiannis Pastellas, Business Development Manager at Safebridge Cyprus Ltd, presented “Electronic Certificates and Verification related issues

© Mr. Yiannis Pastellas. Safebridge Cyprus Ltd.

The vision of Safebridge is the new Internet of Things Solution for controlling documents and certificates and also to the training for upgrading crew competence!

Mr. Pastellas demonstrated the solution that Safebridge is providing and is considered a breakthrough in the current certification problems.

Mr. Jad Ghamraoui, Operations and Crew Manager at Naftomar Shipping & Trading Co. Ltd, who is SIGTTO GPC Member and DNV-GL instructor, presented “The future in Learning and Development of Seafarer Cadets onboard LPG Gas Carriers

The impact of new regulations and innovative technologies in LPG industry for Crew Related Issues.

Forum Findings

The maritime sector is over-regulated. Collaboration among participants for them to reach their targets is changing and technology assumes the role of bringing all parties together at the right time. Goals achieved include correct and risk averse decision making, optimal allocation of resources and proper execution of daily operations.

More regulations give birth to more procedures, more procedures give rise to more complexity and more complexity brings inherent risk.

Therefore the know-how of participants in the maritime industry needs to be “infused” into technology, for technology to drive and guide every single user to complete his/her task according to procedures.

However, this is not enough, collaboration among all parties and participants should be harmonious. Hence, the future of shipping will be a collaboration through real time data transferal and dashboard decision making tools, to maintain equilibrium and parallel procedures, aiding in the achievement of the goal of the Principal.

Old fashion practices are not allowed, new regulations, VIQ7, MLC and GDPR form the deadline for the old practices of recruitment of seafarers, thus metrics, key performance indicators and models of matching and allocation should be used.

The inspections will be focused on the knowledge and awareness of the Seafarers. They will be “tested” on the knowledge based on the certificates they hold, to prove if they own the knowledge implied by the certificate in question. In addition, the seafarers will be checked on their awareness of the Company’s Procedures, Specific Vessel systems and how aware they are of International Regulations. This shows that Tanker companies will be obliged to do an internal restructuring and focus more on the following:

1. Customized Advanced Training Onboard

So the seafarers will be aware and possess the skills to cope with the Vessel Specific Systems. Cargo audits, mooring and anchoring operations, and navigational audits and assessments should be done more often onboard. Onboard Officers trainings conducted and cadet training onboard should be a must.

2. To the point Circulars and Assessments of the Circulars

The Principals should develop circulars that will inform their Seafarers, guide them and train them at the same time, concerning International Regulations, amendments on Regulations, and guidelines with clearly structured procedures.

3. Principals Should Do the Briefing & Familiarization

The Briefing and Familiarization of the Seafarers should be a central focal point. With inspections getting stricter, evaluation of the seafarer concerning his awareness of the Company Policy and procedures, will become commonplace. People in charge from the Principal Office should do the briefing and assess the seafarers afterwards to “ensure” that the joiners are well acquainted with the ISM and SMS of the Company. Onboard visits for strengthening awareness in terms of the Company Manuals and Procedures, may be the best practice to accumulate documented evidence for the Oil Majors, but in the end, it is the result that counts. For that reason, the Company Representative should be “confident” on the awareness of the crew onboard.

4. Appraisals are the tool for Training

A Structured Appraisal System that will identify areas for improvement and shape the schedule of Training, either onboard or ashore, either imminent or planned in the near future.

We have already moved to the era of informative decision making and to a

New Crew Order

No matter the know-how, skills and experience whatsoever, the reality is that without software solutions, i.e. information technology platforms and data exchange (APIs), participants will continue to face problems, claims and will not be able to communicate the culture of the Principal to their seafarers..

Elvictor Group Evolution with Pure & Pragmatic Solutions

Elvictor Group has elaborated and demonstrated its innovations and its findings, whereas the presentations of the speaker collective simply proved unanimously that Elvictor Group’s vision has redefined crew management practice and is the only way forward for the next decades.

VIQ7 revision has the philosophy of 50% documented evidence and 50% Crew Knowledge and Awareness directed as Mr. Vennis nicely and clearly presented on his agenda.

Captain Konstantinos Voulgaris presentation mentioned the following concerning the VIQ7:

  • Ability to “show” , “explain”, “demonstrate”
  • Responsibility is shifted to manning agencies, so intelligent logistics are needed to cope with the VIQ7 amendments
  • Knowledge is being tested, not only certification
  • Words “competent”, “able to”, “familiar” etc. are mentioned more than 200 times
  • New-models, criteria of screening results
  • Platforms are needed for screening new members
  • Provides proof of actions to “avoid observation” and documents the additional mitigating actions “to handle deficiencies”, advocating the need to adopt a safety culture.

VIQ7 proposes remedies among which the most important are:

  • Continuous Coordination with manning agents for Crew Optimization
  • Crew Pre-selection Interviews
  • Manning Agent SMS Familiarization
  • Crew Assessment and Appraisal programs
  • Crew Retention Schemes
  • Crew Designated Vessel Rotation
  • Crew Onboard SMS Training and familiarization
  • Systems to identify additional training needs
  • On the job training
  • 10. Preparation of Crews for vetting

All the above were presented by Elvictor Group in the forum, demonstrating our “thinking ahead and out of the box” philosophy and vision. All the above VIQ7 remedies exist already in the cloud system of Elvictor group.

Namely “Continuous coordination with manning agents for crew optimization” is provided by Elvictor Group’s Principal Intranet, where crew pre-selection interviews are scheduled online, completed on site and are sealed with documented evidence that are scanned and uploaded to the Principal’s Cloud.

Concerning the Manning Agent SMS Familiarization, our Group’s Training Director Mr. Dimitrios Kalosakas is the person in charge of guiding each Trainer of our network offices on how to bring palatable results on SMS familiarization. This is done by developing a more structural training guide per company that the Trainer is using to familiarize with successful new joiners to the respective Principal.

“Crew Assessments and Appraisal programs” are customized in the system of Elvictor Group per Principal, and as the presentation of Elvictor Group’s CEO indicated “they are guiding the Principal on which training the seafarer should undertake and when”, either onboard or ashore to empower his skills. This integration process of each Principal’s crew assessments and appraisal programs in the system has proven to be efficient, increasing the retention and bolstering the officer matrices of the fleet, as well as providing ad hoc feedback to the Principals.

These reports provided by the Elvictor Group form “above-expectations documented evidence” that Principals may present to their Oil Majors. These are also customizable reports per Principal, facile to produce with the click of a button, from the Principal’s Intranet and immediate provision to any Oil Major if need be. These reports are automatically generated, following any crew changes, and emailed to the Principals instantly by the system without human interaction. 

The above Elvictor cloud system covers also the VIQ7 remedies proposed: “Systems to identify additional training needs” , “Crew Retention Schemes”, where the online Gantt chart in the platform is the interactive tool of crew allocation for online planning and scheduling, and the Principal may easily designate seafarers interactively from the platform to specific vessel(s) covering the VIQ7 remedy: “Crew Designated Vessel Rotation”.

Concerning the VIQ7 remedies:

shield
  • Crew Onboard SMS Training and familiarization
team
  • On the job training
rating
  • Preparation of Crews for vetting

Elvictor Group has a dedicated team of ex OCIMF & CDI inspectors and training instructors that many of our clients request to perform the above three best practices. Captain Vassilios Iliopoulos, Elvictor Group’s Managing Director & COO is in charge of this experienced team, which possesses vast experience in some of the most renowned Greek ship management companies.

“Over and Above”

Debriefing: Interactive HTML5 Coded Link that every single seafarer receives upon his disembarkation, allowing the seafarer to interactively fill in the debriefing form of the Principal. As a result, the Principal has a clear image of his pool cohesion, number of seafarers, their rank, potential withdrawals, areas for improvement, etc. Feedback is given to the Principal about the intentions of each seafarer, promotion likelihood, training status or upgrade of license and other information that currently market participants exchange with numerous emails, whereas in Elvictor everything is done interactively and at a faster rate.

Port Guidance: Upon the lineup of a seafarer and issuance of his travel documents, an interactive HTML5 Coded link is received, with full guidance for the port and country he is going to reach for his embarkation, covering the respective TMSA element.

Travel Items and information: Upon dispatching, the seafarer receives an HTML5 Coded link that provides online all of his documents for ready for download to his mobile. Attached to this link are: electronic tickets, letter of guarantee, OK to Board, any LOI, Port Agent full information and contact details, dispatching letters and any additional documents that may be required depending the country and the port.

Principal SMS: Upon lineup, the seafarer receives a coded link of the Principal’s:

  1. ISM, SMS and any other manuals
  2. Company Presentation
  3. News of the company (posted by the Principal in Elvictor’s Principal Intranet)
  4. Circulars of Elvictor and Principal (if any) all downloadable to his mobile. This allows to keep track of the log of the downloads and documented evidence that the seafarer possesses and has revised these documents.

Availability: a coded link is sent to ex crew of the Principal, after debriefing, that interactively the seafarer updates all parties (Elvictor, Branches, Principal) about his intention and availability. Any requests or demands or even negotiations are stated in the link, allowing further online interaction with the Principal directly without wasting time. If the negotiation turns out positive for both sides, Elvictor Group proceeds with the recruitment.

Briefing: once a candidate is approved by the Principal, the seafarer receives a coded HTML5 link, guiding him about the timetable and schedule of his briefing. If the Principal aims to brief him further, he receives additional links.

© Mr. Constantinos S Galanakis. Appraisal & Training Management.

Training: any seafarer that is lined up and needs to take some advanced training as per Principal’s ISM, is guided through a coded HTML5 link, and informed about the potential scheduling of his training. The seafarer is able to interact by confirming his acceptance, postponing and requesting other dates, etc.

Logs: Every single process and operation on the recruitment process is emailed to each Principal, concerning his crew recruitment operations, fully transparent in various Elvictor reports e.g. Scheduling, Weekly/Monthly reports, recruitment operations report, training log, promotion log, etc.

Principal Circulars and News: Continuously guide and inform your crew, by posting your news and circulars and coded HTML5 links are sent to your seafarers to their mobile phones, social media inbox and mobile apps (viber, whatsapp)

Any control document of the Principal provided to Elvictor Group related to the above operations/procedures is automated and data are filled in automatically. This control document(s) is/are available for downloaded online, but can also be automatically emailed to the Principal totally filled in.

Taking all the aforementioned technological advances into account, the following points are evident:

  • Decrease in the electronic bureaucracy between and of all parties
  • Justified documented evidence through various logs of statuses of recruitment, provided ad hoc and fully transparent
  • Optimum collaboration among all parties and immediate interaction
  • Structured information assists healthy pool cohesion, knowledge of the state of your recruitment, more man hours saved for allocation to more important tasks
  • Decision making is made is greatly facilitated and abbreviated

“Highlights”

Elvictor Bots

Elvictor has already started through its subsidiary company SEATRIX Technologies building AI bots, that will be Electronic Personal Assistants answering, guiding, operating, reporting and executing any instruction for every party that requests something (Seafarer, Principal, Elvictor Group Office Personnel).

Expected delivery date of these bots will be November 2019, where instead of emails, calls, questions, queries, you will simply type or speak to the cloud crew management program of Elvictor Group and instantly be provided with any information or any operation/action you request, rather than typing or clicking!

THINK TANK ORDER

The Generation of an ONLINE COLLABORATION PLATFORM, with credentials to the members named “THINK TANK ORDER” that will be available in June 2019, where all participants of various ship owning and ship related companies will exchange views, share knowledge and experience, upload files, provide support to others by stating their opinion, be informed of various regulations etc.
Specific members will be invited and any new member will have to pass an online voting procedure from the existing members in order to be accepted. The membership is going to be entirely free of charge and members will be able to post their news, circulars, updates of their companies etc.

© Mr. Constantinos S Galanakis. Forecasting the Future.

The platform is reactive (works for mobiles and tablets) and cloud, thus accessing the Online Collaboration Platform will be easy.

ELVICTOR GROUP’S INTEGRATION TO MOBILE APPS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Elvictor Group is shifting all of its online infrastructure to the cloud technologies of React and Laravel, allowing for a highly reactive environment to its users.

At the same time Elvictor Group is always “thinking out-of-the-box” as the CEO of Elvictor Constantinos S Galanakis stated:

“Since 2002, we have developed the Seafarer Intranet, which exists in a state of constant flux, constantly being upgraded and reinforced. We have developed numerous Interactive HTML5 Coded links for our Seafarers and our esteemed Principals, in order to achieve a successful and mutually beneficial, for all parties involved, trilateral relationship.

But this is not even the tip of the iceberg. My philosophy is more open minded. We are going to integrate our systems by end of 2019 to most well known and used mobile apps like Viber, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. The success of those will guide our movement to more mobile apps and social media platforms.

I simply want to provide them with numerous options, shifting their preference to our company Elvictor Group and allowing for the best cooperation to take place.

We have already started the development and I cannot wait to witness the ultimate interaction with our seafarers in the nearest future.”

1st Digital Crew Management Forum Photos

CONSTANTINOS S GALANAKIS INTERVIEWS

Share this Article
Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn
Comment on this Article