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MarAd to help develop 'shipboard climate' training material for USMMA

Oct 12, 2016 10:22 AM

The best practices will target sexual harassment and other coercive behavior

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd):

(WASHINGTON) — The Maritime Administration has signed a $198,000 cooperative agreement with the Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) to develop interactive computer-based training modules, a best practices tool kit, and other training materials concerning appropriate shipboard climate within the U.S. Merchant Marine. The training material will help mariners better identify and prevent sexual harassment, bullying, retaliation, violence and other coercive behaviors as well as assist industry efforts to aggressively promote a culture of zero tolerance for such behavior. The best practices are to be developed by the end of December.

The development team members from MarAd will include experienced licensed mariners from the agency, both male and female, the MarAd Civil Rights Office, and a contractor experienced in addressing sexual harassment and other coercive behaviors in commercial industries.

SOCP, a nonprofit organization comprised of maritime industry companies and professionals, was established to improve the safety, productivity, efficiency, security, and environmental performance of U.S. vessel operations. This action is part of a larger effort by the DOT, MarAd, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) to build an environment of inclusion for all in the industry.

Oct 27, 2016 04:01 pm
 Posted by  CaptTimD

I think this was a solution dreamed up by MarAd and then they went in search of a problem. I was a master on Great Lakes vessels for 28 years and I had no incidents of sexual harassment reported during my time aboard. Our company had very strong guidelines regarding SASH, and for that matter any type of harassment or assault. The veracity of the whole issue at Kings Point has been questioned starting with the survey and how that was conducted.

Hopefully, this will be the end of the issue. What I found most amazing is that MarAd thought it was safe for cadets to still go on military or government ships but not the commercial ships. Odd that since the military has had and still has more than its share of SASH issues, and while they do have procedures in place to deal with it, they are sometimes ignored or defeated by COs or higher. I am also sure that the number of SASH issues in government offices in general are higher than what could be found in the commercial maritime (industry). Do not forget that government-run ships normally have a much higher number of sailors aboard than are generally found on commercial vessels, and more people generally bring more problems.

I have yet to see any real hard statistics and any number that has been verified as to the number of reported SASH incidents on commercial maritime ships. I know the major unions are very concerned about this and the characterization that has been painted onto commercial maritime. Surely if this were an issue that was frequent or common, the unions would have complaints from their members, there would be lawsuits against the companies from the numerous maritime injury lawyers and the USCG would be all over it. While none of the issues noted should be tolerated, it definitely appeared that DOT and MarAd had an agenda, since as noted companies have strong policies in place so that they won't be sued, unlike government which you can't generally sue.

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