Shipping Industry

How to Handle Conflicts in Shipping Industry

Wherever there is a group of people working together, there are bound to be conflicts. Each individual has his or her own view and perspective. When there’s a difference in opinions, conflicts arise.They may arise due to misunderstandings, poor communication, competition, difference in personalities, work pressure, poor leadership, dishonesty, stress, difference in values, ego and much more. It is important that a person should know how to handle conflicts.

Just like any other workplace, Ships do have internal conflicts arising among the seafarers.Sometimes differences of opinions arise among seafarers on various matters.These conflicts need to be managed or handled effectively. If they are not handled effectively, they may spoil the work environment, in some cases even hampering the work of others. At times serious conflicts may become an obstacle in the proceedings and working on the ship. So, it’s important to handle conflicts wisely so that the whole ship does not get affected because of them.

Let’s discuss some of the ways to handle conflicts in an effective manner.

Identify the reason of dissatisfaction

Sometimes conflicts arising among the seafarers reflect their dissatisfaction. They may be dissatisfied due to various reasons. May be their hard work is not appreciated or they do not get ample opportunities to showcase their skills. The captain should try to identify the reasons for the same and try to resolve the matter.

Changes and improvement

Conflicts often give the captain an opportunity to re-evaluate, change and improve the matter of conflict. It is your chance as a senior to bring about a positive change that will result in more efficiency and better performance of Seafarers.

Maintain Faith among the Seafarers

Conflicts arising among the seafarers can affect their performance. Resolve the conflict in such a way that none of them feels cheated or slighted. It should be fair, so that the faith and trust of seafarers on the authorities remains intact.

Listen Carefully

Be an active listener. Listen to both the parties carefully. Don’t be biased. Keep aside friendship or personal likings. Go through the whole matter and make sure you acknowledge the feelings of both the parties. If you don’t like any of the parties involved, don’t let it impact your behavior and judgment. Instead show them the fine line between right and wrong.

Identify the agreement and disagreement points

In case of Conflicts arising among the seafarers, identify the terms of agreement and disagreement within both the parties. Look for the points on which both agree and then focus on the points of disagreement among them.

Focus more on behavior and events rather than individuals

Do not emphasize on any individual or pin point any of the parties. Instead focus more on behavior and events by describing specific incidents. This will let both the parties understand that you are trying to resolve the conflict and improve the functional relationship between the conflicting parties.

Give priority to the areas of conflict

Pay attention to all the areas of the conflict but prioritize the most important ones. Resolve these important areas first so that such type of conflicts does not arise again. Then move on to the less important ones.


SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. The plan to resolve the conflict should be SMART. It should be specific and measurable in nature. The results should be achieved in such a way that you can identify exactly what you saw, heard and felt. Also it should be attainable. As a senior officer one should find a relevant solution for the conflict. The results extracted from the conflicts should be focused and time-bound.

Conflicts do not matter, what matters is how we deal with them. A good leader shows the right path so that things like conflicts do not hinder the success of the seafarers as well as the working of the ship.


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Gazal Arora

I'm a fresher and like writing about different things going around the world. Working on my writing skills and gaining experience in this new phase of life.

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