Shipboard manning: alternative structures for the future?

Michael Barnett, C. Stephenson, D. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports the results of the first phase of a research project to explore alternative shipboard manning structures. A review was conducted of relevant literature, although since the STCW revision in 1995, earlier studies are no longer as relevant as they were. It was clear from this review that few organisations have explored the potential of Chapter VII of the Convention for alternative structures and certification.

A research study was conducted that involved the use of three focus groups and an electronic Delphi discussion group of twenty volunteer maritime experts. The focus groups identified a series of feasible manning structures and these scenarios formed the basis for the electronic Delphi phase of the study. The paper provides a full analysis of the exercise, which was successful in showing where there was consensus and where there were major differences of opinion. One major conclusion of the participants was that, although technically feasible, unmanned vessels were unlikely to appear in the foreseeable future for commercial and political reasons. The majority favoured a human presence on board but there were significant differences of opinion on its main function and how that presence should be organised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-33
Number of pages29
JournalWMU Journal of Maritime Affairs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


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