Enhancing Maritime Crew Resource Management Training by Applying Resilience Engineering: A Case Study of the Bachelor Maritime Officer Training Programme in Rotterdam
2. Maritime Crew Resource Management (MCRM) Training
- Bridge officers are part of a socio-technical system, where they must also deal with the organisation culture . In the opinion of the authors, it is for that reason worthwhile or even essential to train all the parties involved and not just the officers, but the complete crew and all people in shore organisations who have an influence on safety at sea and the work on board a ship. This was already recognised in commercial aviation in the 1990s, where CRM began to be extended to other groups within airlines such as flight attendants, dispatchers, and maintenance personnel . In the same way, the maritime industry also realised that not all accidents originate from the bridge, and the training course was renamed to Maritime Resource Management (MRM), with additional target groups such as engineers and shore-based personnel .
- The training design and implementation of the courses were not standardized. The goal of the STCW has been to establish a common, international training standard for seafarers from various nations, which mentions the minimum standard of competencies for each rank in its tables . The tables describe the required knowledge, understanding and proficiency and the way these can be assessed, but are still open for more than one explanation. In order to implement this in a better way, and to achieve the standardization of the content that is taught across countries, the IMO publishes model courses. However, these IMO model courses are not mandatory, and countries can make their own design and implementation choices if these fulfil the minimum requirements of STCW. From their study on the effects of classroom BRM training  and their reference to many years of CRM research and practice, recommendations for BRM training design and implementation were made, which are used in this article to develop an improved competence-based CRM training design and is described in Section 4.
- Evaluation of the change of behaviour during the training and the transfer of the behaviour on board. In order to monitor and assess the effective behaviours, behavioural markers are used. Behavioural markers are defined as “observable, non-technical behaviours that contribute to superior or substandard performance within a work environment” . They are usually structured into a set of categories (e.g., decision-making and situational awareness). Normally, these categories are then subdivided into more specific nontechnical skills or elements.
- In Gatfield’s research  on behavioural markers for the assessment of competence in crisis management, he states: ‘For a behavioural marker to be an effective assessment metric, it needs to be relevant to the competence being assessed. It should be easily evaluated as a demonstration of good or poor behaviour, easily observed and should occur quite frequently (p. 118)’. In aviation industry, there are some standards available, e.g., the University of Texas (UT) system and the NOTECHS scheme, but there are many more behavioural-marker systems in existence. In the maritime industry there is no standard available yet, but there are some examples from research papers [16,19,20] which give a good start to developing a standard. It is important that the training is followed up on board, using information from team members.
- Duration and frequency of refresher training courses. The duration of the training is limited because officers attend the courses during their leave period. It can be questioned if a change of behaviour can be realised in such a short period, and if so, what the results are over a longer period. Research from military aviation shows a 25 percent decline in attitude towards CRM after 12–14 months  and therefore refresher training courses are scheduled every three years . Although there is no research on retention of CRM skills in the maritime industry, CRM training should not be a single experience . In our opinion, all necessary competences need to be trained in a continuous program; moreover, during the career on board, refresher trainings are critical for long-lived results. The aviation industry has a recurrent training program where CRM competences are trained every three years, whereas the STCW only mandates refresher courses for safety and medical trainings, where the CRM is not included. However, there are shipping companies who refresh the technical and non-technical skills on a regular basis in simulator centres with the teams that work on board. Moreover, officer and crew conferences are used to discuss these non-technical skills, but this does not give the opportunity to observe the behaviour as in simulator centres.
- allocation, assignment, and prioritization of resources,
- effective communication,
- assertiveness and leadership,
- obtaining and maintaining situational awareness,
- consideration of team experience including workload management.
3. Resilience Engineering Approach for Safety in Maritime Operations
- Responding, knowing what to do.
- Monitoring, knowing what to look for.
- Anticipating, knowing what to expect.
- Learning, knowing what has happened.
4. Design of CRM Training Enhanced with RE
- Research of applied science: the officer is capable of systematically conducting practical-oriented research of applied science that contributes to the solution of a problem within the working environment.
- Planning: the officer can effectively and efficiently convert a set of goals into a plan.
- Perform/execution: the officer can independently execute and check the necessary tasks and adjust to the schedule where necessary.
- Manage emergency/unexpected situations: the officer shows a problem-solving attitude and responds adequately to an emergency.
- Control unexpected circumstances: the officer takes care of and guarantees the quality of systems and processes and, where necessary, proposes actions of improvement.
- Communicate: the officer communicates effectively and clearly in both business and social processes within an international context.
- Manage: the officer provides direction and guidance to the various work processes and the employees involved in order to achieve the set goals.
- Professionalise: the officer can reflect on his own actions and takes professional ethics into account.
- Adding the cognition being distributed in the entire socio-technical system instead of the cognition in the mind of only one trainee . Involving interaction between different agents so that coordination needs to take place as an attempt to understand the different views of the fellow members and agents in order to update all events that are taking place in the changing environment. Therefore, student officers must be prepared for unexpected events in a socio-technical system, finding ways to enhance adaptability by communicating in abnormal situations and coordinating between different agents that are part of the socio-technical system.
- Adding a dynamic/complex context, including unpredictable situations instead of unpredictable static tasks incorporated in the design of the training , dynamic involvement can be realised by complexity. The complexity the team is facing creates gaps in everyday operations. This means that the system cannot be adequately described nor controlled as it is currently done in maritime operations. Therefore, the training must involve dynamic, unpredictable situations, which can be realised by including work constraints such as time, information, or available resources, so that the many standard operating procedures (SOPs), to perform the tasks safely and avoid errors, are no longer applicable and need flexibility. Therefore, student officers must be prepared for unexpected complex events, finding ways of applying non-technical skills to enhance adaptability as, according to Wachs , the adaptability takes place via a spontaneous process. In order to incorporate complexity without making circumstances too difficult, the recommendations of Röttger et al.  must be considered.
- In order to be effective, training design should be directed at specific behaviours and the best practices in a given context of application.
- In the training design, make sure to train complete teams instead of individual team members.
- Determine training needs at the beginning of the training design and focus the training on those non-technical skills and procedures that do not sufficiently comply with the behavioural standards.
- Provide opportunities in the training design for repeated training and debriefing of behavioural standards.
- Follow a step-by-step approach in training design instead of trying to improve everything at once. Focus on no more than three behavioural standards at a time. If a standard is exhibited repeatedly and sufficiently, go on to the next one.
- In simulators training design, technical and non-technical skills should be trained jointly, because they must be jointly executed on the bridge.
5. Design and Implementation of a More Effective Training Program by Including the Qualities of Resilience Engineering
- voyage planning from a crowded anchorage to the berth,
- allocation of tasks to the team members,
- checks and tests of the bridge equipment including the settings and procedures,
- informing engine room and deck team (bosun) about departure from the anchorage.
- sharing information of the voyage plan and current situation of the vessel to create a shared mental model,
- leadership style used and explaining what this style means for the team,
- assigning of tasks and check if tasks are clear for everyone and no tasks are missing,
- encourage the team to use the appropriate team skills such as: “closed loop communication“; “feel free to challenge”; “speak up if there is a deviation from the plan, a loss of situation awareness or any other concern”; “inform if someone feels overloaded with tasks”; “think out aloud of planned actions or intentions”,
- during the briefing, the simulation runs and creates a dynamic situation where vessels approach, leave or pass the anchorage.
- the “head of watch” monitors the team standing at distance behind the workstations of the two navigators and the helmsman in order to keep a good overview. The main tasks are performed by the two navigators and are cross checked by the head of watch before execution,
- the scenario is as follows: after heaving up anchor, own vessel proceeds to the pilot station. There are several inbound and outbound vessels, which report by VHF to the pilot, VTS. Moreover, inter-ship communication between vessels is made to avoid collision. Disturbances are introduced by internal and external influences, e.g., malfunction of the bridge equipment, internal or external phone calls, or persons entering the bridge. Own ship to deviate from the plan due to an emergency that occurs on own vessel, e.g., cargo fire, cargo leakage, bilge alarm hold, etc. Sharing information of the emergency with all parties concerned, i.e., deck crew, VTS, pilot, vessels in close vicinity, and management of the ship. To manage the emergency, one of the navigators to leave the bridge and assist the emergency team and reassigning of tasks is required. For an emergency related to the cargo, a stowage plan and dangerous goods list is on the bridge. After controlling the emergency, the vessel to return to the anchorage or proceed to the pilot station.
- The final phase of the scenario is the debriefing, which starts with a brief overview of the team reporting the positive and negative results and the reasons why they were successful and what they will do the next time to improve. Next, a comprehensive debriefing is made using the observations from the assessors.
- Goals of the course are improving safety; efficiency; preventing accidents by human factor; working as a team.
- Number of courses varies between two and five with a total duration of 40 h on average. Two institutions mentioned that the subjects are fully integrated in all practical and simulator lessons.
- Courses are scheduled in years 2, 3, and 4, but mainly in years 3 and 4
- Teaching method used is mainly a combination of classroom lectures, case studies, and simulator-based training.
- When using the simulator for training of the non-technical skills, the focus is on both the technical skills and the non-technical skills, and both are assessed or evaluated
- Assessment of the skills is by simulator or a combination of simulator with written exam.
- During the courses, the change of behaviour is mainly monitored by using observation forms and behavioural markers.
- The individual and team of officers on the bridge or in the engine room are trained.
- The implementation of principles of RE is different during briefings and debriefings; only 66,7% pay attention to ‘why things go right’ and ‘why things go wrong’, only 53,3% pay attention to monitoring aspects and information important for the job, only 66,7% pay attention to responding, e.g., discussing SOPs, communication, control, and coordination taking place in the socio-technical system, and only 56,3% train last-minute risk analysis in unexpected events.
6. Summary and Discussion
- A set of behavioural markers is used for assessing the (change of) behaviour, but some of these are still open for multiple explanations . The intention is to consult other training institutes and the professional field to improve the process of the development of a more uniform set of behavioural markers and associated scenarios which cover both the normal (everyday work) and the emergency situations.
- The resilience cornerstones are used for the RE theoretical lens, but the abilities are still open for multiple interpretations, i.e., anticipation, according to Turan et al. , considers a longer time-horizon beyond the current operation, applying a broader perspective in which each team member should have a clear definition of their role, tasks, and responsibility in order to ensure operational performance. The intention is to do further exploration on board the vessel to understand the resilience abilities better in real life settings.
- During the assessments, the focus is mainly on the competence of the individual student, which is required for certification. The assessor takes notes on the contribution to the team, but team performance is not assessed yet. The authors observed a bridge team making use of the competence profile in Table 2, which showed that, in a case where the team is, for example, not proactive and does not anticipate the next condition of the adaptability of the team, it is not improving along the assessment. At this moment, we are still discussing how to incorporate the team performance as part of the assessment. On board it is easier to assess the adaptability of the team, looking for team resilience as the crew itself is an entity; therefore, we agree with Praetorius et al.  that “research to the resilience engineering cornerstones on board can help to gain insights and generate vital knowledge on team dynamics based on respondents’ previous experiences.”
- During the debriefing of the scenario, the discussion focusses mainly on what went wrong. Student officers find it hard to answer the question “why things/operations went right”. The four stages of Maslow, becoming conscious of the (in)competence of the non-technical skills, the bachelor competencies, and the adaptability of the team, will help to answer “why things/operations went right”. It also gives student officers an opportunity to observe each other’s actions and reflect on their practice with peers . Discussing “why things went right” also improves everyday life and creates confidence, according to the positive psychology scientific study . This behaviour will also help on board once the student officers have become professionals, as the young professional is used to giving feedback and reflecting, and is able to learn. In the past, leaders on board tended to receive little feedback on their behaviour, and followers tended not to question or break their governing norms .
- Student officers who performed their practical training on board showed that they rely more and more on standard operating procedures (SOPs) to solve problems. These SOPs can also pose a troubleshooting hazard for problems on board that cannot be covered by procedures . Recently, serious gaming has been introduced in the program to improve the competencies that add up to resilience in the face of unexpected and emergency situations, which provide student officers with the skills they need to handle situations that go beyond what can be expected in classroom lectures .
- The training scenarios containing emergencies contribute to the development of appropriate behaviours during emergencies, where the team uses the phases of orientation, evaluation, and decision making to think their way through a novel situation. However, it has been observed that most student officers failed to respond in an appropriate way and in time due to a lack of pre-planned behaviours and appeared to “freeze” . This was most frequently observed with the student with the function “head of watch”, who was responsible for the operation. If the other team members are familiar with this behaviour, they can recognise this and resolve this freezing by challenging the “head of watch”. The intention is to introduce the emergency scenarios in an earlier stage in the training program in order to enrich the pre-planned behaviours and to overcome “freezing”.
- For the measurement of the effectiveness of the training program it is important to understand what the effect is on the improvement of safety. Starting next year, we want to start to implement this at the nautical school in Rotterdam. The Kirkpatrick levels of training evaluation  are often used to assess the effectiveness of the training. The four levels of evaluation are:
- the reaction of the student and their thoughts about the training experience,
- the students’ resulting learning and increase in knowledge from the training experience,
- the students’ behavioural change and improvement after applying the skills on the job,
- the results or effects that the students’ performance has on the business.
- A maritime training institute can only assess the behavioural change to level 2 and further research is required on how to assess the transfer from the simulated environment to the real world and how this affects the performance on board.
- When more attention on board the vessel is paid to non-technical skills and the adaptability of the team, the scenarios and NTS needed in the enhanced MCRM training will be better defined so that what is learned in the MET becomes more relevant for work on board .
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Enhancing Maritime CRM Training by Resilience Engineering|
|Adaptability of the team||Four resilient cornerstones/abilities:|
|NTS of Maritime CRM||Effective communication|
Allocation, assignment, and prioritization of resources
Assertiveness and leadership
Obtaining and maintaining situational awareness
Consideration of team experience including workload management including decision making
|Team Resilience Abilities||Bachelor Competencies of the Maritime Training Program of the RMI||Non-Technical Skills (NTS)|
|Anticipate||Planning expected situations||Assertiveness and leadership and consideration of team experience including workload management and other NTS|
|Anticipate, Monitor, Respond||Performing||Obtaining and maintaining situational awareness and other NTS|
|Anticipate, Monitor, Respond||Managing emergency/unexpected situations||Assertiveness and leadership and consideration of team experiences and other NTS|
|Anticipate, Monitor, Respond||Controlling unexpected situations||Decision making as part of consideration of team experience and other NTS|
|Anticipate, Monitor, Respond||Communication||Effective communication and other NTS|
|Anticipate, Monitor, Respond||Managing||Assertiveness and leadership and other NTS|
|Learn||Reflect on behaviour within expected and unexpected situations, in order to professionalize.||Effective communication and other NTS|
|Learning Subjects||Semester||Learning Method||Assessment|
|Teamwork||1||lectures; project work; practical||report and oral|
|Situation awareness||1||lectures; practical; training ship|
|Effective Communication||1||lectures; project work; practical; |
|report and oral|
|Leadership and managerial skills||2||lectures; practicals|
|Decision making||2||lectures; practicals|
|Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)||2||lectures; practical|
|Automation awareness||2||lectures; practical|
|Rehearsing and integration of NTS; basic knowledge of resilience||3||lectures using videos to recognise|
practical with more focus on tasks on bridge and engine room and more
complex scenario’s project work,
analysing incident reports
|Assessment bachelor competence level one, including both the technical- and non-technical skills at STCW operational level, using bridge and engine room simulator.|
|Practical half year at sea.||5||One of the shipboard training tasks focuses on non-technical skills.|
|Repetition and deepening the understanding of NTS, integrated|
with the technical skills at
|6||lectures; analysing incident reports. |
|Assessment bachelor competence level two, including both the technical- and non-technical skills at STCW management level using bridge and engine room simulator.|
|Enrich the NTS:|
- conversation techniques
- deepening the understanding
of the NTS as a manager on board with focus on leadership, workload and managing emergencies.
|6, 8||lectures; practical; |
shipboard training task with a
survey and interview of ship’s crew
|Assessment bachelor level three, related to the professional skills|
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Griffioen, J.; van der Drift, M.; van den Broek, H. Enhancing Maritime Crew Resource Management Training by Applying Resilience Engineering: A Case Study of the Bachelor Maritime Officer Training Programme in Rotterdam. Educ. Sci. 2021, 11, 378. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11080378
Griffioen J, van der Drift M, van den Broek H. Enhancing Maritime Crew Resource Management Training by Applying Resilience Engineering: A Case Study of the Bachelor Maritime Officer Training Programme in Rotterdam. Education Sciences. 2021; 11(8):378. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11080378Chicago/Turabian Style
Griffioen, Jaco, Monique van der Drift, and Hans van den Broek. 2021. "Enhancing Maritime Crew Resource Management Training by Applying Resilience Engineering: A Case Study of the Bachelor Maritime Officer Training Programme in Rotterdam" Education Sciences 11, no. 8: 378. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11080378