Complacency is that pleasure one feels, the security one feels often without being aware of some potential danger. It can also be referred to as an attitude of unconcern where humans/people think, reason and do things in a routine manner. In this situation, people anticipate outcomes of events to be the same always. Complacency slowly molds the character and attitude of a seaman that was otherwise good into a bad one.
2.0. Challenges involved with complacency
Complacency is a major cause of maritime accidents which formally was a fact ignored. In the recent past, shipping companies have put importance to Safety Management Systems when it comes to shipboard jobs. When hiring ship board crew, most managers do not run suitability tests for jobs for which they are hiring crew. This can be hazardous especially if the crew or even one of them has concentration problems or lacks any of the basic skills and training.
In some cases of complacency, the management thinks of saving money instead of the ship and the crew on board and this is where management puts more weight and energy. This is management complacency and it ranges from failure to service equipment to purchasing substandard equipment for the ship however small it may look. It is worth noting that the shipping industry is now concerned with safety given that various reports and statistics show that most devastating accidents that cause deaths, property loss and even pollution to marine environment are attributed to error and miscalculation by people.
3.0 Dealing with complacency:
Complacency as complicated as it may be, can be solved with new ideas and thinking. De Bono in His book Mechanism of the mind says that once the mind starts reasoning afresh, things can change and this is so when we accept that there are better ways of doing things in future from the present. Unlike before, these days those seeking jobs must be competent and possess skills required in handling the ship at all times including during emergency. Competency has been a challenge for a long time something that has been overlooked but which has often led to loss of cargo and lives as well as the ship itself. With relevant skills and competency for all the crew on board, complacency has no room. Again because of reasons of economy, most ships are reducing the number of employees they take on board so that each crew member is able to efficiently perform his duties and this he must do safely to avoid accidents and causing injury to him. A careless execution of duties by any crew jeopardizes the safety of all crew on board and the ship as a whole.
In maritime accidents as a result of complacency, prevention practices must be observed. If it cannot be understood how such accidents occur, then the result can be disastrous as is the case of Bosun Crush who was killed by anchor equipment. Had he taken precautions, it could not have happened but again this is the case of routine work without expecting any danger.
Lack of training on safety and security while on board can be hazardous if one area is neglected by one member however junior he may be. Every situation should be analyzed carefully before any step is taken. A case in point is the sinking of Trikolor, a ship in England by another one in 2002, a decision carelessly taken by Kariba which took a turn without considering its outcome. Had the captain been aware of the situation, the accident could not have happened.
It is also important that onboard rules and regulations are followed to the letter as well as compliance with the said rules. Technology can also be used to maintain and assist in preventing malfunctions on equipment. Safety issues should be discussed with the crew on board before setting off to sea as a precaution in-case one forgets what is required when sailing. This again I must say that it involves all crew on board who also should work together to report crises so that future or further damage, loss or harm does not happen again.
Complacency be it leadership, Management or whichever form it may take can cause fatal accidents leading to loss of life, cargo and the vessel. In the case of management, decisions are followed even when such decisions lead to danger. Such decisions led to the accident of the tankers Torrey Canyon, Erica and Amoco just to mention a few of such cases. Submitting to such decisions should be avoided at all costs if marine accidents are to be prevented or stopped all together.