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Leadership in maritime - back to basics

In this interview, we talk to Secretary General Guy Platten, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), about the role of leadership and STCW in the transformative times ahead of the shipping industry.

At this year’s CrewConnect Global, we spoke to the leaders and stakeholders of this industry and found out about their views on the changes in the maritime industry and their impact on crewing and seafarers.

In this interview, we talk to Secretary General Guy Platten, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), about the role of leadership and STCW in the transformative times ahead of the shipping industry.

Watch the interview or read the transcript below.

Lili Nguyen: What has been the traditional role of leaders in this industry?

Guy Platten: Talking about leadership in general, I think that the traditional model of shipping is changing. I went to sea at the age of 18, so I’ve been in this industry for 36 years, and I’ve seen a lot of change, but I genuinely think that the next ten years is going to have so much additional change.

As a result, leadership styles and challenges will be there because we are going to have to bring the workforce and bring the people with us, to be able to embrace them and to be able to make the most advantages of these changes that are coming.”

LN: The maritime leadership has a huge role in making the digital transformation possible. How successful is the maritime leadership at the moment?

GP: The reason why we invest in digital technology and digitalisation because there’s a return on that. We’re not doing it for the sake of it. I think that very important for the leaders and managers developing these strategies don’t just put in new technologies just because it happens to be there. So there has to be a real reason for it.

I think that comes down to leadership as well as change management. People often don’t like change, so when putting a new process or a new system in place, you sometimes will get some sort of reaction to that. The importance of leadership then is to try and explain to people why we are doing something, what the benefits are for that individual, and what the benefits are for that company. So that’s an important part of leadership in this field.

LN: What about the future maritime leaders? How does the industry need to educate today’s seafarers?

GP: It’s really interesting… Today, on the opening day of this conference, the Chairman of ICS, Esben Poulssen, put the gauntlet down and said that actually, with everything that’s going on in our industry with all changes coming down the tracks, from increasing automation to new types of fuels, we must look to whether the fundamental building blocks of seafarer training, STCW, is fit for purpose. I think that is where we need to start from now in order to ensure we have the right skilled workforce in the future. I think we have to go back to basics now and to have that debate with the industry is exactly what we want.

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