Not just the best. But the cream among Fleet Leaders were further honed up as a matter of policy by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) to maintain front-slot in the industry.

This was the Fleet Leaders’ Meeting May 21 and 22 at the New World Manila Bay Hotel to inspire and further upgrade skills of about 61 junior and senior officers – all of them leaders in their fleets.

The two-day conference was lively and open, the officers involved in the discussions, with video supplements, learning activities and exercises by individual and by groups.

Speakers presented scenarios/situations where officers analyzed and identified causes such as accidents on board and other mishaps. Speakers tested how informed the officers are on  company safety culture, on procedures and STCW compliance.

Participants were all enthused and prompt on the two days, even skipping coffee breaks to extend the lively and meaningful exchange of views between speakers and officers.

An open forum closed the conference, with evaluation forms issued to gauge sentiments and impact. Most of the participants ended the day at the SM Mall of Asia bowling center for friendly games and bonding with the BSM family.


Resource and range.

Speakers at the Fleet Leaders’ Meeting:

  • John Pritchett, Corporate Manager, Fleet Personnel Training and Development
  • Alok Roy, Fleet Director
  • Armando Santosidad, Director, Crew Service Centre Phil
  • Joseph Raluta, Director, Maritime Training Center Phil

Topics covered:

  • Leadership and management theories and practices
  • Exercises on STCW leadership
  • Awareness, performance, mental and barriers (stressors)
  • Behavioral-based safety, theory and application
  • Mentoring on apathy, boredom, familiarity, risk, wellness at sea
  • Communication skills and social media
  • SMC/ LPSQ/ Tech with Q&A


Soft skills.

Pritchett stresses, “It’s a complete change of what we’ve done before because we feel our seafarers are technical, there’s no problem. It’s the soft skills on how we manage different situations…”

He speaks very clearly and passionate, fitted to a “t” as Global Head of the BSM Maritime Training Centers in the Philippines, India, China, Cyprus and Poland; responsible for competencies at all levels of the Organisation using an in-house developed Competency Management System.

Marino World learned training is Pritchett’s core, rooted back in 1994. He is immersed as he believes, “you’ve got to have some involvement in what you are trying to teach.” He beams with pride that his trainees (from 1997 to 2007) are now Captains, chief engineers and major shipboard officers (including hundreds of Filipinos).



Capt. Manzana and C/E Palmes opened the conference, underscoring the Company’s large expenses as “investment” with expectation that participants return gesture in the safety of everyone on board.

The focus is not on technical skills as the conferees are already certificated officers. The results expected are on “soft skills” as in leadership and behavioral response to operational events.


The company.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) is an integrated maritime solutions leader, weathered on oceans for more than 130 years, managing 630 vessels, employing 20,000

(18,000 are seafarers with Filipinos the biggest block) and operating in 40 locations through:

  • Eight wholly-owned Ship Management Centres
  • 26 Crew Service Centres
  • Five Maritime Training Centres



BSM HK Fleet Director Alok underscores, “Our principles are not in the business of shipmanagement for profit but rather for their reputation. We would rather have quality than quantity.”

Alok further clarifies, “…  shipmanagement fees are very small and unlike competitors, we do not make money on rebates but give back rebates to owners so profit has never been our criteria for business. This makes us unique and probably the only company who did it.”

He considers Filipino crew as “very good because the training sincerity is perfect.” Hence, he would wish for more Filipinos as soon as the maritime recession improves. Companies have to recruit cheaper hands from other nationalities who are saddled with language problems and skill shortfalls.

Filipinos are preferred but relatively cost more to hire.