HUMAN errors are still frequent among marine pilots masters despite the advent of the digital age, managing director of the Fremantle Maritime Simulation Centre Captain Rory Main says.

Captain Main spoke at the PIANC Crisis Management and Natural Disaster Response seminar in Hobart, where he made the case for more training.

“It is interesting that a lot of human factor errors in this day and age are still occurring,” he said.

“What we need to do is to train people to ensure that they monitor everything that is taking place around them.”


Captain Main talked of the importance of companies reinforcing their own policies.

“If you put policies in place that you don’t encourage them to believe in themselves, they’re [likely to do] the same thing again,” he said.

“We’ve had incidents repeated by the same individuals where they have refused to listen to what we’ve been trying to get them [to do].”

Captain Main talked of using the Fremantle Simulation Centre to improve skills and reduce knowledge-based decisions.

“Most ports have a lot of rules. What we are doing through the simulator is increasing skills,” he said.

“Once you get to knowledge-based decisions, you find that 50% of those decisions are errors.

“So the aim is to improve methodology through the simulator to train people for accidents or to avert accidents.”

He said the advent of giant containership such as the MSC Gulsun made more training imperative, giving the tremendous costs associated should one run aground.

Captain Main said he remained concerned by the lack of regulation in the maritime sector and called for a “paradigm shift” in thinking.

“The maritime industry is one of the least regulated in the world. It is driven by the lowest common denominator which are flag states… they impose safety only because they’re told to,” he said.

“We’re lucky to have the Australian Maritime Safety Authority which has a very high standard of regulation and Australia signs up to a very high standard of safety.

“But we still don’t push that through to the organisations that actually manage that safety on behalf of the government and our people.”