Maritime Wellness Institute


Data at sea

We live in the era where data is valued higher than the price of oil “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data” The Economist . The things flying around in the ether, all the ones, zeros and twos and threes behind this fact is more valuable than what we carry on containers... on tankers, than what the oil rigs offshore pump up from the seabed. So I ask the question, how is our industry today, shipping, embracing technology to understand how data is shaping the organization.


We can look at some simple metrics. How the engine is operating on a daily basis. The fuel consumption, the emissions being put out in the funnel. We can look at the time it takes to anchor near the port. Both valuable data points. However, I revert back to the video, a blog that that was written on this idea of human performance, and how intrinsically related, and how important it is that the two are to the operation of the vessel.

Today, in such a technologically driven era, a data driven time, it's still very unclear as to how the human element is affecting vessel performance. We talk about vessel performance rather than the human element. By improving... by understanding how men and women are performing every single day can radically change the way that we operate our vessels. We can increase the vessel's performance every single day by understanding how human performance is being affected by vessel operation. When we look at how people feel, we need to understand how sleep is affected by the environment that they're in. Sleep is one of the most crucial parts of human performance, to recover, to be able to perform at one's peak. We have to understand how the fuel that is injected into our seafarers is affecting their performance and hence affecting the performance of our vessels.


How can we start to understand this? First and foremost we need to understand the truest importance of the men and women on board our vessel. Now I revert back again to a previous podcast log. Without men and woman on our ships, our ships are not going anywhere. They are not leaving port, simply put. It may be overly simplistic, however, I dare you to remove your crew from the vessel for a day and see how it operates. It won't.


So we need to understand again, how the lifestyle on board a ship is affecting that performance. The environment in which people live, breathe, sleep, eat, will intrinsically affect vessel performance. We look at the situation where due to habits on board, a individual leading an extremely sedentary lifestyle fell ill. Completely preventable, and the vessel had to come off charter for three to four days. This was a vessel that the crew member had to be flown off by helicopter and back on... somebody else back on to the vessel to replace that individual.

The time and the money invested into that individual being repatriated came to in excess of 1.5 million dollars. A catastrophic loss considering how little one actually needs to invest to understand human performance at sea, and improve human and vessel performance at sea.

Technology can empower companies, ship owners, managers, charters, to better understand how human performance is being affected by vessel operation, and they can improve vessel performance by improving human performance. The two halves go hand in hand. And as side effect of improving human performance, we will see an increase in safety standards and reduction in risk is a natural side effect. To learn more contact us, attend one of our events, become a member, and start your journey to improving vessel and human performance.


andrew cowderoy