Towards a

Our crews play a key role on board our ships in terms of quality and safety, which are regarded as top priorities in the performance of day-to-day activities. We owe our existence to our customers but for us it is just as important to ensure our crews return home safely after a voyage at sea. It is crucial to be constantly aware of the need for safe working practices in view of the risks involved in working on board ship and at sea.

Theo Klimp (Fleet Director Wagenborg Shipping) and Koos Zumkehr (Director Chartering Wagenborg Shipping) are at this moment focusing on the question of ‘what is the ‘secret’ behind a crew with a strong safety culture and how to improve this further within Wagenborg?’ In order to achieve the goal of zero accidents they realize that actions speak louder than words, hence the need to take a close look at their behaviour. That means thinking about questions such as how are we doing things, how are we working together and what is our way of organising things.

Theo Klimp believes that having a highly connected workforce is the most important part of the secret. To which Koos Zumkehr adds that that having a highly connected workforce will have positive outcomes in more areas than just safety. It will also have a positive impact on quality and, in the longer term, will help to ensure the organisation’s continuity and profitability.

Theo and Koos are taking several measures within Wagenborg Shipping to further strengthen the mutual relationship between our crews, the relationship between office and shore and the cooperation within the office. 

One of these initiatives is Menno van der Groen’s appointment as Nautical Operations Trainer on board our vessels. Since September 2014 Menno (who now boasts 24 years’ experience working within the Wagenborg fleet), has been paying visits to our vessels and staying aboard to investigate the opportunities for improvement, while collecting examples of best working practices so they can be disseminated throughout the Wagenborg shipping company.

“I suggested it a couple of years ago”, explains Menno. “For a shipping company the size of Wagenborg it could be very useful to have an interface available for the crew in the form of eyes, ears and a mouth on board the vessels. We think it is extremely important for all employees, irrespective of their nationality, to feel at home with Wagenborg and to be assured that their services are recognised and valued. Our crews are sometimes physically thousands of miles away from our office staff but we do our utmost to ensure they have close links with each other in terms of work and cooperation and feel part of a team. That is one of the most important things I seek to convey on board ship.”

The trio of captain, chief officer and chief engineer may be the first people to turn to but Menno speaks to the entire crew to get a complete picture of the situation on board ship. “It is crucial to make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and speak with colleagues on board about the reasons for and details of the various choices. That is the only way to get a true picture of what opportunities are available for making further improvements to quality and safety on board our ships and to consolidate Wagenborg’s policy on the way people work and cooperate.”

Theo Klimp and Koos Zumkehr are in complete agreement about this. A joint effort by each and every single employee is the only way to continue improving mutual trust and boost the collaborative efforts designed to move closer to the goal of zero accidents!