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American Waterways Operators gives congressional testimony

Safety should be the first priority of any industry and the shipping industry is no exception. Members of the American Waterways Operators (AWO) testified before congress on March 6 about the state of the maritime industry. The AWO advocates for the long-term economic viability of the industry, vessel safety and environmental issues among others.

Rear Admiral John P. Nadeau of the Coast Guard pushed the importance of vessel safety, putting responsibility on vessel owners to implement preventative safety measures. Nadeau advocated for Safety Management Systems that protects both vessel workers from potentially fatal accidents and the environment.

The importance of Safety Management Systems

Safety Management Systems work with the International Safety Management Code that ensure inspections of vessels inside and out, officers are performing their duties properly and assess any gaps between protocol and current action.

Nadeau discussed the importance of the safety management systems in place, including evaluation of their effectiveness to minimize injuries at sea. A key issue he brought forth was the importance of giving states oversight powers that aligned with international policies.

The emphasis of Nadeau’s presentation was clear. Safety training must be ongoing to evolve with technological advances while also being economically and environmentally sustainable.

A new danger

New technologies bring new threats and require additional training programs. Cyberthreats in both ports and vessels was an example of a new safety concern presented by Nadeau. While technology can increase efficiency and increase safety, it also has its vulnerabilities. Look for AWO to work proactively against cybercriminals threatening ports and vessels.

Keeping up with the times

The AWO testimony to congress highlighted the organization’s focus on keeping all maritime workers safe on the job, including supporting legislation that protects the wellbeing of workers and the environment. The shipping industry has been around for generations, and it appears to be keeping up with the times.

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