Filming with E.R. Schiffahrt

July 10, 2017 10:25 am

Routine movements, not performed for the first time, that’s for sure. Third Officer Jan Baguio climbs light-footed from the green painted C deck to the stern of the orange-red lifeboat, opens the door to the cabin and removes a locking pin from the stern wall. Then he goes out again to the small quarter deck. “Ok, camera stop. Thank you, Jan – can we have that again? We’ll just change the camera position to get it from another angle,” calls Ron Tanner.

Tanner is a video director for KVH Videotel, a British company that produces training materials for the international shipping industry. Armed with a list of about 180 scenes, he and his colleague, cameraman Don Slater, are on board the “E.R. Tianping” (8,533 teu) for almost two weeks to shoot new film material for the series Personal Safety On Board Ship, one of Videotel’s most successful training products. The update will include modern ships, new technology, equipment and current legislative requirements. Ron  anner: “Ships can be dangerous places. Seafarers need to be aware of hazards and continually mindful of the need to avoid them. They also need to assume responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their colleagues and workmates.”

Lifeboats are just one of the numerous topics on board that are relevant to safety – and simultaneously a good example of potentially hazardous places. Launching and recovery, manoeuvring, working with helicopters and survival craft and righting a capsized boat – those are the widely varying tasks that are all associated with this safety equipment. “To be safe during the training and servicing work, one first of all needs to use the fall prevention device,” says Jan Baguio, before once again placing the pin in the escapement for the camera, and then again so that the scene is captured perfectly on film. Ron Tanner is delighted. “It’s a tough environment, and we have a hard-working crew on this vessel. However, the warmth and willingness to assist is impressive.”

In the training unit, particular importance is attached to the lifeboats and the on-load release systems. During drills, the lifeboat has to be recovered from the water and returned to the davits. It is this stage of the lifeboat drill that is the point of greatest risk. “There have been an alarming number of accidents involving lifeboats with on-load release gear in recent years. We will help in familiarising the crew with the equipment and avoiding unsafe practices during maintenance,” says Tanner and continues: “The more we are able to perform our jobs with knowledge, awareness and understanding, the greater the chance we will get home to our families safe and sound. Risks to life, ships, colleagues and the environment can be significantly reduced by training.”

Further developing the technologies poses a challenge. This often  means additional tasks for all positions on board, but also that matters often need to be dealt with differently. In addition, there is the aspect of multinational crews from different cultures which, amid the hierarchical structure on board, makes communication particularly important. Tanner therefore gives all seamen the following recommendation: “If you see something that is not according to the rules – tell someone. If you are unsure – ask someone. And as a superior – make clear that you advocate an open door policy that allows every crew member to address anything, any time.”

Training in the cabin

E.R. Ship Management recently upgraded the KVH Videotel system on board the fleet from the VOD-box to a network VOD (NVOD) system. The new technology enables seafarers to access the service via the vessel’s internal network and even by WiFi. Training can now be carried out from the crew member’s cabin with a private laptop at any time. The new NVOD system is currently being distributed on vessels managed by E.R. Schiffahrt. This article first appeared in ‘ship & shore’, the world of E.R. Schiffahrt magazine. To read the full article on page 19 of the full magazine, view here