The following is the text of a press release issued by Videotel:
(LONDON) — Maritime investigations are a fact of life yet it’s all too easy to assume that they are about finding fault. In fact they are about protecting the seafarer, protecting the crew and of course, protecting the company from liability claims.
The new training programme from Videotel Marine International, The Mariner’s Role in Collecting Evidence, produced in association with the North of England P&I Association Limited, focuses on the importance of collecting and preserving good factual evidence in the event of incidents on board. The International Safety Management (ISM) code requires companies to have in place a comprehensive safety management system. However it is all too easy during times of pressure, such as during an incident, for seafarers to become distracted and rely upon memory and instinct. This new programme makes clear that properly recorded notes become factual evidence, making investigations by surveyors, lawyers and others faster and more accurate. It also leads to an increased awareness of potential problems, preventing subsequent injury and making life safer for everyone on board.
“Good evidence is not subject to debate,” explains Nigel Cleave, CEO of Videotel. “No one wants to hear that improper procedures have led to a situation being left open to question, or that common errors have been made. The ISM code is very clear – and as well as protecting a business from maritime claims it also provides the individual seafarer with a proper defence to the threat of criminal prosecution.
“The professional seafarer needs to understand that properly recorded information becomes evidence, that collecting and documenting evidence must be part of shipboard routine. Should an incident unexpectedly turn out to be a reportable injury, and proper systems and procedures have been seen to be carried out, then the actions and professionalism of all involved are not open to question.”
The Mariner’s Role in Collecting Evidence is available in DVD format with supporting workbook, as interactive CD-ROM and through Videotel’s unique Videotel on Demand (VOD) system.
It shows a disturbing and convincing real-life scenario which covers a wide range of topics demonstrating the importance of safety management procedures on board; recording every event and incident; the collection of factual evidence as opposed to hearsay; the crucial nature of contemporary evidence such as notes and photographs; the correct presentation of such evidence and the danger of seemingly trivial incidents being overlooked.