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Jumbo Innovation Blog

Innovation Award: Jan Douwe de Jong wins award for his masters thesis on better communication during loading ops

The LC Awards 2021 (by newspaper Leeuwarder Courant) is an event where students from Frisian schools of applied science and universities compete with their theses. In the category Master, it was one of our own Officers, Jan Douwe de Jong, master student at the Dutch nautical institute Maritiem Instituut Willem Barentsz, who won the 2021 award for Best Master Project.

Jan Douwe c.s. thought of a way to communicate better and more safely amongst the crew, and other  people directly involved in  loading or discharging cargo operations. Bottom line (see also the picture): adding visual communication means is a worthwhile complement to the existing communication procedure , which does not allow for simultaneously talking and listening.

Jan Douwe found that sometimes information is lost when one person starts to speak over the radio when another has not yet finished while handling heavy loads. He said: "That is why we devised a test with a screen, similar to the signs that hang above the road to inform motorists." It contains the information that is most often requested and communicated during the lifting work: the list of the ship and the crane load: a Lifting Operation Information Panel (LOIP).

The large boards showed the most frequently asked questions and answers. Hence, those questions no longer had to be asked and there was less communication via the handheld radios required.

The jury said: "We chose Jan Douwe de Jong's project because his research is both innovative and practically applicable. Communication can be crucial for safety, especially when it comes to the large ships and installations he is dealing with. Precision and good coordination is crucial. His solution could also be universally applied.." 

Results
Visual communication lessens the reliance on verbal radio communication and reduces the number of communication errors. Hence, it contributes to a safer lifting operation.

The test resulted in a 26 percent reduction in verbal conversations. “And with it the chance of errors”, says Jan Douwe. The test screens can be connected to the cranes, so that everyone involved on deck or on shore always has a good view.

Already Jan Douwe has received positive and interested responses from the outside world. ''These reactions and winning the LC Award ensure that my drive to implement the innovation on board has become even stronger. Of course, this involves an investment, but as the project indicates, the profit to be made is large: improving and making communication safer during our lifting operations.”

Another example of what a great crew – and good collaboration – can do!

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