Mediators Post

Mediation − A solution for the shipboard souls

Author´s name: Mohammad Tarique Khan

Profile: Fellow − Institute of Chartered Ship Brokers, Accredited Mediator. MICS, MNI, Mediator - empanelled with IIAM

Location: Kolkata

Mediation has been in practice for quite some time now at various fields both at community level, where individualistic differences erupts often, and at commercial levels where a lot of time and money is at stake. It has always been a viable and time saving option for individuals, communities and industries looking for fast and productive yield of getting their differences sorted out.

From the field where I come from, I have faced - though not directly, various occurrences of personal differences that have led to major altercations and disruption leading to stupefying effect in the decision making process. Had mediation been an option for resolving such disputes, much could have been done in order to preserve the sanctity of the comradeship on board.

Napolean once said “a leader is a dealer in hope”. A professional mediator is one who actually deals in hope, the hope which the conflicting parties come with, the hope which these parties put on him and the hope which these parties put on to this concept – the certainty of which they are unaware of.

Mr. Robert Cialdini in his book the “Influence - The psychology of Persuasion” has written about a trait called consistency wherein he states that people who are “consistent” are considered more logical, rational, stable and honest. These are the traits which every sane individual follows and applies in his daily chores but on the other hand these are also the root causes of problems and frustrations. A mediator duringthe mediation process uses the established principles to diminish these traitsin the parties in order to come to a conclusion which has only benefits, mutual to both. This may sound awkward but yes this is how it works.

Let us consider a father who has a property dispute with his only son. The basis of the dispute is primarily his ego and his being consistent with it. On the other hand is his son who is young and dynamic but cares little about the family values and culture. He lives a lifefree to do what he wants. We may consider the son to be consistent with his ideas and values. The dilemma the mediator faces is that both are correct and wrong at the same time. But it is not the job of the mediator to give a verdict of what is right or wrong and he tries to suppress this consistency in order to ride them out to greener pastures. The point to note here is it is never the outcome which is important but the process that has more meaning as if the concentration is on the outcome then very soon the parties will be back with problems, sometimes more demanding that what it was before.

A mediator is the one who works with principles of neutrality, dispassionateness, impartiality, self-determination, persuasion and self-control, most of which often becomes self-conflicting when used towards achieving the objective of resolution. A mediator´s primary and most important role is to ‘facilitate’ the disputants open their communication lines,which acts as the most important barriertowards a resolution of the issue. Once the communication lines are open and effective, solution is bound to come and that too in a WIN-WIN situation. This is very much unlike a litigation process where a party has either won or has lost on the basis of the verdict passed by the judge. It may so happen that the verdict may have come at a time where the appellee is not in a position, both in terms of finances and time, to contest the case further. Had the parties opted for mediation, there would have been only winning and no loosing on both sides of the barrier – perhaps the barrier does not exist anymore.

The maritime industry and occupational disputes have a long lasting relationship; neither of the two has survived without each other. Occupational disputes, due to the nature of the trade, have existed since it´s the inception and have its effects at the grass root level, which quite obviously, is due to the consistent behavior of the souls. A mediator will evaluates these traits and helps the disputants resolve the issue without much frustration, loss of valuable time, work days and money.

Considering its effectiveness, maritime industry should now seriously think of putting mediation as a first step process to help resolve issues at the grass root level. This will help tremendously in having workplaces free from problems most of which arise due to paltry issues.

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Pankaj Kumar

The article will be useful for seafarer´s community.

Capt. Shoukat Mukherjee

Well written Tarique. Mediation is a great necessity in the maritime industry and I am sure it will find its way. Shall use this blog as ref material for my manning workshop. Well done and wishing the full team all round success.


After a long time read a blog bearing a solution for the shipboard soul put in a very easy and elaborate way. The points are put together very nicely by capt Tariq Khan. Hope to read some more articles and blogs written by Capt Tariq khans.

Anuradha kapoor

A very effective solution for sailors' routine work related problems.. specially because they are a closed group living in close proximity for long periods...

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