Seafarer Interview on STS Preparedness. An Assessment Process

18-09-2022 23:41:23









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Patronis Nikolaos, Alexandros Glykas, Capt. Titos Giannakakis, DYNAMARINe


DYNAMARINe provides high-quality consultancy services to the maritime community. The company has had strong development over the years and established itself in the industry for showing consistent dedication and state-of-the-art deliverables. One such recent development is the STS Interview and Assessment Process which is also in line with OCIMF’s TMSA recommendations in element 3.4.1 and SIRE 2.0, section 3.2.8 for conducting such seafarer soft skills assessments during navigation, cargo, mooring, and engine operations

During the past decade, the industry sector of Ship-to-Ship (STS) cargo transfer operations has experienced unexpected events including major incidents. One of the most common denominators in these incidents is the impact of the human element and more specific, the lack of proper assessment during vessel operational activities including applicable documentation, information, hazards, and causal factors from senior officers prior, during and after the completion of an STS operation as these appear on the latest STS OCIMF Guidelines, Annex K

Well-trained senior officers are more knowledgeable and prepared for potential issues that may arise during STS operations and on how to deal with them. As per the latest STS OCIMF Guidelines, section 1.8 the following is mentioned “It is likely that the pre-operation risk assessment will identify that many of the crew will be required to take on additional or different tasks, roles, and responsibilities […]. It is important that any additional roles and responsibilities are identified, and that suitable training is provided prior to the operation”

Currently, the shipping industry is acting on a reactive basis because most organizations focus primarily on minimum requirements for training and certification according to the International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Additional specialized training on STS material is provided to seafarers upon a near-miss occasion or actual incident to minimize the chance of reoccurrence or possibility of future risks. Annex K3 states that the “knowledge of causal factors will assist with the development of barriers and preventive measures aimed at minimizing the occurrence of the associated risk”. The industry’s reactive approach should be shifted to a more proactive oriented model such as the STS interview assessment procedure on seafarers which identifies STS gaps and enhances the minimization of potential STS incidents

The major end goal of DYNAMARINe’s team is to assess the seafarer’s awareness and knowledge regarding STS practical and theoretical aspects and evaluate relevant soft skill abilities. DYNAMARINe critically evaluates the interviewee with regard to the industry’s best operational practices for avoiding substandard practices. Strengths and potential gap areas shall also be identified via the STS interview assessment process which allows the seafarer to focus on targeted training and improvement reinforcement methods

In several cases, senior officers appear not adequately trained or tend to misjudge the assessment and seriousness of the facts in the most critical aspects of STS operations, with respect to the following areas:

  • STS regulatory regime and compliance with industry guidelines
  • STS preparedness essential elements required to be considered prior to the commencement of an STS operation
  • STS equipment evaluation and proper use, maintenance, inspection criteria, and visual checks
  • STS risk assessment preparation based on the latest OCIMF guidelines

DYNAMARINe has taken steps to achieve this shift towards a proactive approach by handling STS incidents, combined with well-structured STS interview assessments

The benefits of an STS interview assessment process are as follows:  

  • Reviewing the perception of the seafarer when dealing with multiple human and environmental safety aspects
  • Identifying the extent of confidence in assuring that the mandatory measures are in place ahead of the operation, regardless of the commercial pressure
  • Determining evidence of critical thinking and response patterns of the seafarer regarding additional STS measures needed in the operation
  • Assessing the seafarer’s risk-based thinking during an actual STS operation
  • Early assessment of the seafarer’s depth of understanding on the decomposition of the STS clearance, prior and post-operation stages
  • Evaluating the ability of the seafarer to develop an STS risk assessment in line with the latest OCIMF guidelines
  • Encouraging seafarers to act in a more proactive orientated method, by identifying potential gaps prior to possible incidents and inadequate practices
  • Assessing the continuous improvement and learning ability of senior officers based on past STS theoretical and practical experiences  

Having identified the above industry needs and beneficial factors, one of the most crucial services that DYNAMARINe has introduced to the shipping cluster is the pioneered online STS interview preparedness assessment for senior seafarers. This direct interview process intends to ensure the minimization of errors and enhance the level of awareness of STS operation matters prior to the commencement of the STS operation on a proactive basis. During almost all STS operations, human error entails an essential element in the correct and safe process of an STS operation

DYNAMARINe aims to deliver high-quality STS interview preparedness assessments to senior officers to evaluate the perception of the interviewee prior to an actual STS operation at sea. DYNAMARINe’s well-trained and qualified operators on STS aspects, provide high-level questions and case studies to senior officers which are centered around minimizing errors along with escalating senior officers’ awareness points on STS material

Upon completion of the STS interview, candidates and companies receive an appraisal report which summarizes the findings and performance of each seafarer in the practical and operational approach. In cases of low performance, DYNAMARINe has developed several training remedies, such as webinars and e-learning sessions, to improve and minimize the gaps identified in the STS interview process and to help officers achieve better and safer future STS cargo transfer operations at sea

For further information and a trial, please feel free to contact DYNAMARINe at






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