The trend towards outsourcing of ship management services over the past 20 years has created a knowledge gap in shipping companies which once operated a top-to-bottom system to support their fleet.
Rodger MacDonald, secretary general of the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations and course director of the Lloyd’s Maritime Academy Diploma in Ship Management says additional education is vital in helping seafarers make the transition to best-of-breed ship managers.
“In recent years, competitive pressures have caused many shipowners to contract out some of their services to ship management companies. This has removed the opportunity for their employees who would like to develop a career in ship management, at a time when the industry is crying out for good managers,” he said.
Within a traditional shipping company structure, officers coming ashore would once have been nurtured and supported in their introduction to the broader disciplines and more complex issues encountered in the shore environment.
“Skilled officers make excellent managers but the knowledge prescribed to prove competence at sea leaves gaps in a number of disciplines required in an effective ship management company. Nowadays, seafaring schools and experience are no longer enough to obtain and retain a competitive edge,” he added.
The 12th Diploma in Ship Management 2009-2010 from Lloyd’s Maritime Academy is designed to help bridge the gap: equipping potential ship managers with the skills required to meet the commercial, safety and quality requirements of today’s shipping industry.
The course is accredited by Middlesex University, where successful students can obtain credits towards further work-based learning qualifications.
The course features 10 compulsory modules and a choice of one other specialist segment. Subjects covered include ship management in the 21st century; effective communications and negotiation; customer focus; quality systems and the environment; finance and business planning; manning and training; law and insurance; Port State Control; the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and a ship management case study.
Additional modules focus on chartering and ship broking; technical management; operational management and health and safety, enabling students to specialize on a particular issue of interest, which will also form the basis of their final examination.
The diploma is delivered by distance learning, providing each student with access to a web-based, blended learning environment, comprising online modules, discussion forums and online tests. Two optional tutorial seminars are held at the beginning and towards the end of the course, providing an opportunity to meet the course director, authors and fellow students.