Russia: Sovcomflot Gives Priority to HR Training
On 6 March, SCF Group held its annual technical and professional human resources conference entitled “The development of fleet manning by professional crews, in support of SCF Group’s Strategy to 2017”. This year the conference was arranged in the form of an enlarged Executive Board meeting of the company.
The conference was attended by about 70 representatives of Russia’s shipping industry, including: representatives from the industry’s scientific and educational institutions; the Deputy Minister of Transport, Viktor Olersky: Sovcomflot’s President and CEO, Sergey Frank; the President of the Union of Russian Ship owners (SOROSS), Mikhail Romanovsky; the Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for the Supervision of Transport, Andrey Guzenko; the Deputy Head of the Makarov State Maritime Academy, Viktor Afanasyev; the Dean of Makarov State Maritime Academy’s navigation faculty, Alexander Gorobtsov; Executive Board members and directors of the personnel departments of SCF companies; captains and crews of Sovcomflot vessels, as well as independent experts in human resources management.
Addressing the conference, the speakers made presentations about the current situation regarding personnel training for the shipping industry, as well as ways of improving the quality of maritime education and the prestigious nature of the seafaring profession. They presented the analysis of work undertaken relating to SCF crews and fleet manning, and work on the compliance of Sovcomflot’s personnel policy with the company’s strategy plans.
The company’s development strategy to 2017 gives priority to specialised maritime services, such as: LNG transportation; Arctic region oil tanker shuttle voyages; seaborne geological exploration and the operation of production platforms in Russia’s offshore regions. The implementation of these activities requires that personnel policy be designed to develop qualified specialists to operate technologically advanced vessels, such as: gas carriers; shuttle tankers; supply vessels for production platforms; high ice classification seismic vessels, etc.
SCF’s recruitment policy and an important competitive advantage of the company is its dependence upon Russian national human resources. SCF is strengthening its cooperation with the most prestigious industry institutions: the Makarov State Maritime Academy (St Petersburg); the Nevelskoy State Maritime University (Vladivostok) and the Ushakov State Maritime Academy (Novorossiysk). There is cooperation with universities on comprehensive training programmes, including officers and crew training. Each year, students undertake practical training on SCF tankers, with the subsequent opportunity for further employment. The company is also involved with the funding of training ships, such as Mir (Makarov SMA) and Professor Khlustin (Nevelskoy) SMU.
In addition to active cooperation with marine educational establishments, SCF is developing a specialisation in the sphere of ice-management, or navigation in harsh environments. During the meeting, it was announced that an SCF Educational and Training Centre will open in the third quarter of 2012 in St. Petersburg, to be located at Moika Embankment, 3. Its main purpose will be the performance of specialised training for seafarers, to enable them to navigate in difficult climatic and ice conditions. It will also address operational areas such as ice-breaking, shuttle shipments of crude oil and the marine transportation of liquid natural gas (LNG). SCF is also planning to improve the system of human resources selection, including through the use of the latest psychological tests to help identify students with the right professional attributes.
Speaking at the conference, the Russian Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky said: “We are committed to quality shipping, and this is our main goal. We also understand that to achieve this goal is impossible without the training of highly qualified seafarers. This is one of the major challenges today, because the safety of navigation depends on people. According to statistics, over 80% of accidents at sea are down to human error. We’ve done a lot to improve safety, yet much work remains to be done. Among the most topical questions for the training of ships’ crews is the strengthening of discipline, a return to the principle of continuous learning, quality simulator training, and the return of the coaching institute, to bridge the gap between academic theory and practical work. ”
The President and CEO of SCF Group, Sergey Frank said: “Sovcomflot is the operator of a modern, high-tech fleet. Many of our ships serve the offshore sector, enabling the transportation of energy resources in harsh Arctic conditions, something where Russia is a world leader. The growth of innovation and sophisticated engineering solutions for the shipping industry will continue, and we will need ever more competent professionals. Our goal is the formation of high-class crews to enable development of the Russian Arctic shelf. Over the past year we have witnessed several severe accidents on water: The Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico; the Bulgaria incident; the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia, and problems involving the oil-platform Kolskaya. Behind all of these accidents lies human error. That is why we must do everything possible to minimize the risks of similar accidents, and pay more attention to human resources, to training and to the skills of our seafarers. We intend to enhance further our standards and will give preference to seafarers trained in Russian higher educational institutions and secondary technical schools. ”
The First Deputy General Director of Sovcomflot, Sergey Popravko, added: “Among the most urgent tasks for the company over the next 3-4 years, is the training of highly qualified crews, in recognition of the expansion of SCF’s fleet of gas carriers, seismic vessels and Arctic supply vessels. Given that SCF has one of the most technologically advanced fleets in the world, the company assigns a key role to seafarers with high quality training. As the use of new technologies has developed rapidly in the shipping industry, the priorities for industry leaders have shifted in favor of the safety and quality of services provided. This means that we have an ongoing urgent requirement for staff capable of safely operating a specialised fleet. ”
LNG World News Staff, March 21, 2012