All fired up

Julie Knox | Colombia

Logos Hope’s fifty-five new crewmembers are receiving their Basic Safety Training (BST) ahead of joining the ship.

As part of their three-week orientation before they step aboard to begin one or two years of service, the volunteers have been bonding as a group, learning teamwork and getting prepared for life on an ocean-going vessel.

They also need to learn how to react in the event of an emergency, which could include abandoning ship or tackling a blaze on board. So new joiners – including children – have a ‘fire and water day’ of handling extinguishers before jumping into deep water from height, learning how to make buoyancy aids and handle life rafts.

While it’s not a legal requirement for the volunteers to be firefighters, Logos Hope’s safety officer, Ionut Vlad (Romania), sets high standards and wants his team to be familiar with distress situations; so they can cope well if one ever occurs.  

“Commercial ships operate with experienced crew,” explains Ionut, “We operate with some people who are coming into the maritime industry for the first time. We want to familiarise them with the risks – like fire being the first enemy of a ship – so they know how to respond.”

The former naval officer also intends Logos Hope to maintain her reputation when maritime assessors visit to grant licences. “Surveyors are not looking for happy and excited volunteers running a ship – they want to see professional and capable crew, and that is why we give training at the beginning and keep going with refreshers throughout their service on board.”

Ionut has trained four new crew intakes and enjoys seeing the progression of those who assist him. “Here I have a new group of clumsy people; some of whom have never been on a ship, some have never been close to fire or used an extinguisher,” he says. “I’m standing in front of them with people on my right and left helping me. And these people used to be just like the clumsy people. But now they are applying what they have learnt to guide the next group with confidence and maturity. And this is what’s impacting me, with every BST course,” says Ionut.

Having proved they can do it practically, the new volunteers have to pass a written exam before they are cleared to climb Logos Hope’s gangways. From what Ionut has seen of their attitude and reactions, he expects to be welcoming each one on board in the coming days.

Published: Thursday, 08 February 2018
Credit: Julie Knox
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