Why we need the DBMS now more than ever

This year has presented challenges the maritime industry has never faced before. We understand that ship owners, charterers and other members of the supply chain are under incredible pressure at this time, so we know that the introduction of the Dry Bulk Management Standard may be viewed as unnecessary.  

However, we believe that the industry needs standardised guidance right now in order to improve operational safety. The industry must come together to share insights that help us to protect  ship and office staff. Now is the time to focus on progressive change that gives people the reassurance they need 

Crew welfare is a central component of the DBMS. We have spent a considerable amount of time with our working group, listening to industry feedback. The consistent message is a need to provide additional tools to protect the health and well being of all members of the supply chain. This is an issue that I’m passionate about. I have sailed on vessels and understand that keeping crews safe is integral to successful journeys.  

Progress in times of crisis  

In times of crisis, strong industries continue to make strides forward rather than maintaining the status quo. So many people need guidance now in order to make it to the other side of this difficult period.  

Many companies and industry bodies are working together to build strategies that keep cargo moving safely, while protecting the people engaged in these operations. This includes crews, shore staff and other people engaging with ships.  

Within the DBMS, there are 30 areas of the standard can be met at one of four levels: basic, intermediate, advanced and excellence. The basic level is in line with the ISM code, which means all people operating vessels with full certification meet this level. However, we encourage operators to go above and beyond.  

New challenges to overcome  

There are seven subject areas that outline best practice guidelines for people. The subject area 13 highlights crew welfare and outlines optimal vessel personnel well being. Here you will find recommendations for accommodation, recreation facilities, provisions, fatigue management, harassment and mental health.  

We are seeing additional areas that need to be addressed as a result of the pandemic. Some examples include:  

  • Maintaining effective communications (Subject area 2) 
  • The risk of missed or reduced quality and safety audits (Subject area 5) 
  • Training methods may need to change (Subject areas 8 & 10) 
  • Possible reduced availability of spare parts (Subject area 14) 
  • Risk of missed surveys (Subject area 15) 
  • Ensuring critical IT updates are made (Subject area 28) 
  • Availability of sufficient resources ashore to deal with emergencies onboard (subject area 29) 

If you haven’t already, I urge you to download the standard and provide feedback based on any lessons and practical solutions for crew welfare that you’ve seen implemented while operating during the pandemic. 

By sharing this information, we can learn from each other and work together to build a set of standards by the industry, for the industry. These standards are shaped by the world we share, and right now we need to focus more than ever on protecting our people.  


Learn more and download the DBMS here