Sunday, March 27, 2011

Module 9: Shipboard Communication

References:   English For Maritime Students;

I.             OBJECTIVES      
1.    to explain the importance of the English oral and written communication;
2.    to identify the different forms and tools in communicating;
3.    to apply the basic functions of communication

II.            DISCUSSION

Communication is necessary in the shipping industry, be it oral or written.      Although a lot of other languages are spoken aboard seafaring vessels, English has been      declared as the universal second language and has been practiced in ages.

A.   Oral Communication
a.    Suggestions on how to speak good English:
1.       Associate with educated people where native tongue is English
2.       Listened to trained English speakers on radio, television and other broadcast media
3.       Watch English movies and listen carefully to the dialogues
4.       Read aloud ten to twenty times a day, choosing material on your subject of interest
5.       Take part in plays or recitation contests to enhance your speaking skill
6.       Have your speech recorded and have it criticized for pronunciation errors

B.   Written Communication
Maritime reports can be presented in memorandum or any ordinary business letter. Most common maritime reports are as follows:

a.    Deck Department
1.       Notice of Readiness
2.       Marine Protest
3.       Damage Report
4.       Voyage (Charter Party) Note of Protest
i.         Damage to Cargo
ii.       Delay Because of Bad Weather
iii.      Demurrage Claim
iv.     Delay in Port
v.       Pilferage
vi.     Short Loading
5.       Accident Report
i.         Fatal Injury
ii.       Serious Injury
iii.      Man Overboard
iv.     Medical Care
6.       Incident Report
i.         Sighting of Vessel Not in Command
ii.       Sighting of Floating Hazards to Navigation
iii.      Fire on Board
iv.     Piracy

b.   Engine Department
1.       Engine Damage Report
2.       Monthly Engine Performance Report
3.       Monthly Consumption Report
4.       Main Engine Running Hours
5.       Auxiliary Engine Running Hours
6.       Engine Accident Report
i.         Injuries by Accident
ii.       Injuries Inflicted by Other Persons
7.       Engine Incident Report
i.         Fire in the Engine Report
ii.       Fuel Contamination

C.   Organizational Communication
Communication in the shipping industry has two basic functions:
1.       to give and receive directions; and
2.       to give and receive information

There are two structures that make up the communication channel – the formal and the informal structures. The formal structure usually follows the same lines and patterns of an organizational chart while informal communication, often referred to as grapevine, is an unstructured communication channel, where lines and routes change very fast.

          Formal and informal communication structures have three channels and these are the upward, downward and horizontal channels. 

a.    Upward Communication
-          communication from support and operational level to management or superiors
-          gives management feedback or information needed for planning, decision-making and controlling;
-          gives the support and operational level an opportunity to offer valuable ideas to management;
-          gives the management an idea if directives or policies are understood or accepted by those below;
-          gives the personnel relief from emotional pressures and tensions
-          common forms are as follows:
o   informal discussions
o   reports
o   attitude surveys
o   grievance procedure
o   counseling
o   exit interviews
o   formal meetings
o   suggestion system
o   employee publications, unions, open-door policy
o   grapevine

b.   Downward Communication
-          communication  from management or superiors to support and operational level
-          increases seafarers’ awareness;
-          influences seafarers’ opinions
-          stimulates seafarers’ sense of belongingness
-          common forms are as follows:
o   directives and orders
o   small group meetings
o   company publications
o   supervisory meetings
o   mass meetings
o   bulletin boards
o   public address system
o   posters
o   memoranda
o   pamphlets
o   annual reports
o   audio-visual presentations
o   reading rooms
o   employee manuals

c.    Horizontal Communication
-          intra-company communication that takes place among or between sections, divisions or departments of the same level
-          aimed at keeping people aware of activities in a related department, thus controlling unnecessary duplication of work, needless expenses, and needless exertion of time and effort
-          also called lateral communication
-          most popular tools used are:
o   meetings
o   conferences
o   telephones
o   intercoms
o   socials

     An ideal management-employee communication manifests three conditions:

          1.    the channels must extend far enough to reach all employees;
          2.    all communications must be official;
          3.    channels of communication should follow the established lines of authority

Answer the following questions briefly:
1.    What are the three channels of formal communication in an organization?
2.    Give five tools or procedures in upward communication.
3.    State the importance of oral communication in English to Filipino seafarers employed on board foreign-going vessels.
4.    Why should Filipino seamen maintain and improve their proven ability to use the English language in written communication.
5.    Enumerate five common reports from the Deck Department and five from the Engine Department.
6.    State three issues or problems on board that can be solved through upward communication.


  1. were can i read that book? i really need the meaning of the engine department.,. please help me..

  2. All the topics are interesting! I want to know more about marine communication, do you have suggestion where I can read this topics? thank you.

  3. where is the example of Deck Department reports ?