VIKAND Partner Profile: Marine-Profile
Outlining insights and methods to maximize seafarer well-being for the good of the industry, Martin Hedman, a maritime psychologist with Marine Profile, discusses addressing human factors to expand safety, suitability and emergency readiness for seafarers and ship operators alike. He believes the most significant advancement in the maritime industry in recent years is found in the adoption of ‘soft skills’ to elevate the industry.
VIKAND—Please describe your company and industry reach.
Martin—Marine Profile is based in Sweden and a foremost leader in psychological applied solutions to ensure safety, promote strong leadership, and nurture human resources in the maritime industry. With an extensive reach spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, our commitment has made us a renowned partner for the world's major cruise companies and operators of various vessels.
VIKAND—How long has your company been in business and in the maritime industry?
Martin—Our journey began in the early 1990s, when we first ventured into the maritime sector. Our maiden client, a tanker company, marked the genesis of our maritime expertise. Yet, our roots trace back to 1982 when we operated under a different name, offering leadership and assessment services to diverse shore-based industries, including pharmaceuticals, forestry, chemicals, and manufacturing.
VIKAND—Name a “highlight” or two of a contribution to the maritime industry of which you are proud.
Martin—With three decades of experience in the industry, it's safe to say that we've played a pivotal role in advancing psychological practices and emphasising the importance of the human factor. Additionally, by introducing a framework to evaluate and assess officers' psychological profiles—determining their readiness and suitability for managing emergency situations—we take great pride in our role in elevating industry safety and performance standards.
VIKAND—What do you believe is the most significant advancement in the maritime industry in recent years and, more specifically, in your organization’s area of expertise?
Martin—In recent years, we believe the most significant advancement, again, has been in addressing human factors. This involves not only considering the well-being of individuals but also delving into well-being sustainability attributes such as leadership, communication, and conflict management. With the challenges posed by globalisation, the maritime industry is required to adapt. Many of these adaptations hinge on developing 'soft skills' to address the 'hows' as much as the 'whats' in our operations.
VIKAND—What is the biggest challenge the global maritime industry faces? Tell us about your strategy to overcome it.
Martin—The maritime industry, deeply rooted in tradition and practicality, has historically struggled to embrace emotional and abstract aspects. This has resulted in stigmatisation and a hesitance to venture into the realm of the 'unknown' for many. We've encountered industry leaders who express skepticism, such as, “I don't believe in psychology.” Consequently, areas like mental health have faced substantial challenges in gaining the recognition and traction they deserve. These challenges persist.
The key to persuading the industry of the advantages of addressing human factors is to build our methodology on scientific foundations and evidence rather than relying on personal opinions or fancy words. This has consistently been a core component of Marine Profile’s strategy: demonstrating the tangible results of the methods we employ.
VIKAND—Where are you headquartered?
Martin—Our main office is in Halmstad, Sweden.
VIKAND—Tell us about your team.
Martin—Marine Profile consists of I/O and clinical psychologists alongside individuals with extensive seagoing experience, including our Managing Director, a Master Mariner. This diverse blend of expertise places us in a unique position to offer a vantage point of understanding the maritime industry.
VIKAND—What does your company do to promote team and client well-being?
Martin—The approach we adopt involves evaluating the psychological profile of seafarers before they embark. This enables ship owners and clients to gain insights into the emotional stability and attitudes of the individuals they are bringing onboard. In the long run, Marine Profile contributes to a positive shift in group dynamics and overall atmosphere.