Safety Management Systems: A Culture of Collaboration for Safe Operation

Safety Management Systems: A Culture of Collaboration for Safe Operation

David Bank- Director of Marine Operations, SEA
Joseph Benton- Vice President/General Manager, McAllister Towing Philadelphia
Jonathan Kabak, Director of Sail Training, United States Merchant Marine Academy
Nathan Hauser- Vice President/General Manager, Moran Towing Philadelphia

Kabak, Benton, Hauser Presentation (PDF)
Bank – no Powerpoint presented for this session

The vast horizons that we once gazed upon as boundless are now regulated by policies, procedures, and mandatory compliance. Creating and utilizing a Safety Management System, broadly defined as the development of operational guidelines for the safe operation of ships, has been characterized as, “someone, somewhere else, telling me how to run my ship”, “sailing by checklist”,  or “sailing my desk around”.  However when implemented effectively, especially with buy in from both shoreside and underway personnel, it becomes a powerful tool to make organizations more efficient, less exposed to risk, and most importantly, better prepared to recognize dangerous situations before they develop and the handle them when they occur.

This general session will begin with a brief overview of the concepts introduced by the International Safety Management Code (ISM) and then move into an active discussion on how to not just create a manual of policies and procedures, but develop an institutional culture geared toward safe operations. Panelists will include representatives from both the sail training and commercial maritime sectors.  Representatives from two of the nation’s oldest towing companies, Moran and McAllister, will discuss their organizations efforts to bring this new perspective to the tradition bound world of tugboats.  Additional sessions on this topic will be held during the course of the conference highlighting various aspects of Safety Management System development including, understanding organizational responsibility, developing policies, and creating guidance documentation. 

Captain David Bank
Captain David Bank

Captain David Bank is Director of Marine Operations for SEA Education Association (, based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. SEA offers a leading off-campus Environmental Studies program focused on the ocean known as SEA Semester®. As Director of Marine Operations, David, along with the Marine Operations team, provide ongoing supervision and safety management for the manning, operations, and maintenance of SEA’s vessels; the SSV Corwith Cramer and the SSV Robert C. Seamans. These two purpose-built oceanographic research sailing vessels currently operate trans-oceanic cruise tracks in the Atlantic and Pacific and are each at sea approximately 270 days a year. In addition, David has worked in the sail training industry since 1987 aboard a variety of vessels including Westward, Californian, Ernestina, Adventuress, Bowdoin, Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts, Liberty Clipper, and the A.J. Meerwald.  He holds an Auxiliary Sail USCG Master Oceans 1600 tons (GRT) license.

Captain Joe Benton
Captain Joe Benton

Captain Joseph E. Benton III is a 2000 Graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy.  After graduation, he sailed as Third Mate aboard the S.S. Chilbar, a chemical tanker on a coastwise run from Houston, TX to New York, NY. In October of 2000, he started as Mate Trainee with McAllister Towing of Philadelphia on the Teresa McAllister. After three short months as Mate, he became Captain on the Teresa.  He sailed as Captain for three years before being promoted to Port Captain in 2003. In June of 2008 he was promoted to Vice President/ General Manager.  Joe Routinely sails as Captain on all six of his tugs on the Delaware River. For the past two years he has taken on the additional duty of part time harbor / docking pilot. Joe is also Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy’s Strategic Sealift Officer Program. He has traveled to various locations on the east coast as well as Japan to provide training to naval personnel regarding port operations and shiphandling with tugs. He presently holds a US Coast Guard License as: Master of 1,600 Gross Tons Upon Near Coastal Waters; Master of Towing Vessels Upon Oceans and Western Rivers; Third Mate Unlimited Tonnage Upon Oceans; First Class Pilot: Delaware River and Bay: St Jones River  to Fisher Point; First Class Pilot: Schuylkill River: Entrance to Point Breeze  Including the Navy Yard.  Endorsements: Radar, ARPA, GMDSS, and ECDIS. USCG Designated Examiner for Towing Vessel Officers.  He also holds an FAA Private Pilot License with Complex, High Performance, and Tailwheel Aircraft endorsements.  Originally from Atco, NJ , Joe currently resides in West Chester, PA with his wife Amy, son Joe IV, and daughter Katelyn .

Captain Jonathan Kabak
Captain Jonathan Kabak

A native of New York City, Captain Jonathan Kabak has had a diverse career in the Maritime Industry. Since starting as a young volunteer at South Street Seaport Museum he has sailed on Tall Ships, Oceanographic Research Vessels, Workboats, High Performance Race Boats, and Academy Training Ships. He holds a 1600ton Ocean Masters License for Steam, Motor and Auxiliary Sail vessels. A graduate of Franklin Pierce College, with a Bachelor of Arts in History, with a concentration in education, Jonathan’s career in sail training has focused on the development of marine education and nautical science programs for all ages.  Currently he serves as the Director of Sail Training at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.  Where in addition to supervising training at the Academy’s Waterfront, he coordinates the SOLAS curriculum and recently served as Master of school’s Flagship T/S KINGS POINTER.  Jonathan also works as a consultant, developing and delivering STCW and Maritime Safety curriculum and providing marine operations services.  He is a member of Tall Ships Americas’ Board of Directors, where he serves on the Ship Operations and Safety, and Membership Committees.  He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Jennifer and daughter Olivia all of whom are members of Tall Ships America.

N  Hauser LR
Nathan Hauser

Nathan is a 1998 graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. He successfully completed the Dual License Program that included a BS in Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering.  While at Kings Point Nathan was an avid keel boat sailor. After graduation from Kings Point, Nathan worked with Broadreach as a Sailing Master and Instructor with their Caribbean Underwater Discoveries Program.  During this period Nathan was also certified as a PADI Master SCUBA Diver.  Immediately following work with Broadreach, Nathan was employed by Mormac Marine Group as a Third Mate aboard their fleet of oceangoing oil tankers.  For the next four years Nathan worked aboard these steam turbine tankers making international voyages as an officer in either the deck or engine department.  Nathan joined Moran in 2002 as a Chief Engineer aboard a ship docking tug in Philadelphia.  In 2003 he accepted a shore side management position working in both engineering and operations, ultimately becoming Operations Manager for the Philadelphia Division in 2007.  During the period to follow, Nathan was deeply involved in the efforts to become compliant with the American Bureau of Shipping’s International Safety Management Code (or ISM).  Nathan was promoted in 2010 to General Manager of Moran’s Philadelphia Division and appointed Vice President in 2011.  He currently manages a fleet of four harbor tugs and approximately 40 employees as well as being involved in many exciting corporate training and operations initiatives.  He also serves as a member of Moran’s Corporate Design Team and Quality Steering Committee. Nathan served 14 years in the Naval Reserve achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He is an avid aviator, serving as a Tow Pilot for Brandywine Soaring and a Young Eagles Coordinator with the Experimental Aviation Association.  Nathan also serves on the board of the Maritime Charter High School of Philadelphia and on the Board of Governors with the Ports of Philadelphia Maritime Society. Nathan maintains current USCG Licensure as follows: Master of Towing – Oceans; 2nd Mate Unlimited – Oceans; 1600 ton Master – Oceans; 3rd Assistant Engineer – Unlimited Horsepower – Steam, Motor and Gas Turbine; USCG Designated Examiner for Towing Officer Endorsements; STCW 95 Certifications. Nathan resides in Newark, Delaware with his wife Amber and two young children.






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