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The Human Element in Container Shipping


Edited By Burkhard Lemper, Thomas Pawlik and Susanne Neumann

The shipping industry is run by people and for people. Thus, the main element in shipping is the «human element» – the mariners at all levels. Since the human element aboard vessels – being in and coping with a very special environment – is the crucial point of every transport chain, it is important to take a closer look at maritime human resource management issues which are scarcely tackled in scientific literature. This book deals with topics such as the criminalization of seafarers, piracy as part of shipping companies’ risk management, corporate social responsibility and human error in shipping.


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4 Cross-cultural management for seafarers: Enrico Lobrigo


71 1 Introduction Seafarers are human beings and naturally embody all the human aspects that each person has. However, these human aspects cannot be oversimplified to be considered as being the same for all because just as each individual is unique, so is every seafarer. The uniqueness of each seafarer makes it evident that there can always be differences among the crew, whereby a crew must work together as a team on a vessel. Such differences can be, for example, in terms of technical skills and experience which are relevant to a seafarer's position or in terms of culture. The former can be addressed by formal education and training, while the latter requires intercultural competence. These differences need to be addressed to ensure that the entire crew functions effectively as a team, in order to ensure safe and economical voyages. This paper focuses on intercultural competence which may help unlock the problems where sufficient training and education can fail. Two seafarers who perfectly know what they have to do because of high levels of technical training and significant experience can still cause a tragedy when they simply fail to understand certain cultural signals – a nod can mean a 'yes' to some, while it is actually a gesture of 'no' to others. Since seafaring involves a lot of interaction with people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is essential for them, and in fact also for all maritime personnel, to possess sufficient competence to work in a multicultural setting. This paper is...

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