Mentoring and Development of Crew Members

People require guidance in various aspects of their lives, often seeking it even when it’s not explicitly provided. This holds true in the maritime world, where crew members often look up to their superior officers as role models, aiming to comprehend and adopt their established standards.

Capt. Nicolae Gainuse, Master of Atalanta T, shared that his approach to mentoring on board typically begins with the senior officers. This endeavour is challenging, particularly when historical practices clash with contemporary safety requirements. The maritime industry has undergone significant changes in safety protocols, demanding a shift in mindset.

Transitioning from officers to crew, Capt. Nicolae prioritizes understanding and familiarizing himself with the crew members. He delves into their attitudes toward safety, identifies potential issues within the team, and assesses their inclination to adhere to rules and procedures. It’s crucial to gauge their overall satisfaction with their responsibilities.

Subsequently, he meticulously plans the training process, drawing upon various resources, including the Shell Initiative, industry-provided information, and, most importantly, the Safety Management System (SMS). These tools help me tailor the training to address specific needs and challenges.

Central to this training is instilling in them the concept that, as the Master, he leads by example in adhering to rules and procedures. Capt. Nicolae encourages his crew to delve deeper to understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. They identify the origins of these practices, engage in discussions to clarify doubts and modify them if they don’t align with modern standards.

This process inevitably brings us to the critical aspect of behaviour and often overlooked assumptions. If any gaps exist in their training, Capt. Nicolae takes it upon himself to bridge them. If bad habits are identified, he traces them back to their source and ensures the crew comprehends that such practices are no longer acceptable in today’s maritime landscape.

In essence, this comprehensive approach ensures that we address the technical aspects of maritime operations, the crucial element of human behaviour, and the underlying assumptions. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement and a commitment to safety, we strive for excellence in all our maritime endeavours.

Several key messages that Capt. Nicolae consistently reinforces until his crew grasps the concept:

  • Our primary purpose is to ensure a safe return home.
  • If you have any doubts about potential risks to your safety, do not proceed.
  • Continuously anticipate possible outcomes when making decisions.
  • Embrace a collaborative spirit within the team and report any concerns.
  • Remember, there are no “wrong questions,” only learning opportunities.
  • Adaptability is crucial in an ever-changing shipping industry; staying updated is the path to success.
  • Strive for self-improvement daily.
  • Consider a day without learning a day lost in your life’s journey.

Special thanks to Capt. Nicolae Gainuse, Master of Atalanta T, for sharing his valuable insights.