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ONE of the interesting themes of the last International Shipping Federation manning and training conference was the family approach to shipping.

Simon Daniels of Southampton Solent University gave his view that the burning issue today was that criminalisation of seafarers had been a growing phenomenon over the last 30 years, and over the same period shipping had changed dramatically.

The person least able to influence change had been the master, whose traditional relationship with the ship operator had blurred. "The effect has left the master with diminishing influence without losing responsibility," he said.

The drift away from the traditional arrangement by which owner and master considered themselves to be in a family relationship appears to have coincided with the criminalisation phenomenon, according to Daniels.

Food for thought?

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