Long working hours and even longer periods away from home make for a tough life for seafarers and the standard of conditions onboard ship can impact hugely on a crew’s overall well being.
ILO and MLC 2006 3.2 regulations, which came into force in August, address many of the issues surrounding living conditions for seafarers and ensure they are provided with nutritious, well structured meals and a safe and clean environment to live in.
Henry Anderson, Consultant Chef and Founder of Marine Catering Services, is leading the way in training catering staff both onboard vessels and offshore at a top catering school in Manila, the Philippines to comply with latest industry standards.
Due to set sail onboard Anglo-Eastern’s Rio Tinto fleet in China this week until mid-December, Henry says the MCS team is sought after for this type of training due to their uncompromising attitude and approach to breaking down communication issues.
He says: “I never turn my back if I see someone doing something wrong. I will stop them, tell them why I am stopping them and demonstrate how things should be done in order to nullify that behaviour immediately. My team and I will break that habit because we need to close that door behind ourselves in order for catering staff to be trained to the best standard they can reach.”
Henry believes the success of MLC is due to the support of a team who share his diligent work ethic and who persist until they get the best out of the catering staff they are training. Henry is also proud to acknowledge he has never received negative feedback regarding any of the vast number of training courses he has provided throughout his years as a marine chef.
Each onboard course starts with Henry or a member of his team conducting an audit to work out what they are dealing with. This includes looking at the galley and food preparation areas, checking for compliance, quality of food onboard, its storage, overall cleanliness, and the hygiene standards of the catering staff.
The next part of the audit is focused on living conditions; checking mattresses, pillows, standard of cabins, cleanliness of bathrooms and sanitisation of showerheads, followed by a look at the standard of recreation spaces and equipment.
The findings of the audit are used to assess where training is most needed and on completion of the visit and training program, Henry reports back to the ship’s Master and the Ship Management Company on what training has been given and if catering staff, Masters and SMT have reached the correct level of standards required to conform with ILO/ MLC 2006 regulations.
“We have to build trust quickly so we can make staff aware of their own responsibilities and build good communication. I usually find, when I go onboard a ship, catering staff aren’t sure of me to begin with. Quickly they realise what I’m teaching them is in their own interests – they’re being given the correct tools to do their job and it’s more cost-effective for the shipmanagement company too,” he adds.