Crews' comments shape new safety system

Tuesday, September 25 - 2012

V.Ships' revamped electronic safety management tool has been launched following feedback from employees.

The new and improved VMS Revision 4.0 - based on views from staff, audits and third party vetting inspections gathered over the past 18 months - is now live and currently being dispatched throughout the fleet.

It includes a number of new features, such as a computer-based training package within the SMS to show users how to use and update the system, which has already been well received by V.Ships Canada's domestic fleet following a two-month pilot scheme.

Mike Bradshaw, V.Ship's Divisional Risk, Safety and Quality Manager, said: "Most of the changes in this latest VMS revision are based on the identified needs of the end-user - ship staff.

"After VMS Revision 3.0 went out in 2011, crewmembers told us they want a good, detailed index and an easy to use search engine. Both of these are now included in Revision 4.0.

"We also took the opportunity to consolidate a lot of the administration and accounting procedures to strip out duplication and reduce the overall size of the system.

"We are often told by third parties that our Safety Management System is one of the best in the industry, but we need to be sure our staff are familiar with its content and know how to navigate around the various sections, which is why the new computer-based training package is so important."

Stephen MacFarlane, V.Group's Information Systems Director, said: "The new version of the VMS introduces a number of technology advances into the V.Group technology inventory.

"The development, maintenance, version control and approval of the VMS is built around Microsoft's powerful SharePoint collaboration technology that is being introduced into the group.

"The distribution and on-going updating of the vessel version will be through a new VMS application that will use advances in ShipSure's replication technology to keep shore and shipboard VMS documentation in synch over the existing communication links."

The initial release of VMS 4.0 will be followed up by a new release of the ShipSure application later this year to support over-the-air (OTA) updates. This will allow the new VMS to incorporate fleet circulars and other routine updates within the one application, making the system far more flexible.