US pilot impressed by Aussie training

A US PILOT believes his Australian counterparts are far ahead of pilots in most other nations in terms and acceptance of innovation. In areas such as Bridge Resource Management and the study of fatigue, he says Australia is far out in front.

Captain Jon Timmel, of the Tampa Bay Pilots Association, who has just attended one of Ravi Nijjer’s BRM courses in Sydney, said the level of participation from a range of maritime disciplines had surprised him.

He had attended BRM and Advanced BRM courses at US centres but these had primarily involved pilots, shipmasters, engineers, shop owners and statutory authorities all participate in the course and the resulting interaction adds an extra dimension to the effectiveness of the program he said.

“The mixed classes represent the real world that we have to deal with every day. This approach to reach BRM explores leadership and psyche – it requires you to accept an entire culture change,” Captain Timmel said. “Until now, the authority of the master and pilot has been absolute, which is fine in a perfect world.

But since the majority of shipping accidents are down to human error, this new approach sees each part of the bridge team, perhaps five or six people, constantly evaluating the situation.”

Captain Timmel said it would be unheard of 20 years ago for the third mate to challenge a pilot’s decision.

But with BRM training, it is the third mate’s obligation to challenge.

Captain Timmel has invited Mr Nijjer to undertake courses in the US next year.

More than 1,000 marine industry professionals have completed Mr Nijjer’s BRM courses since they started. The courses have attracted extensive interest from overseas.