We are constantly being bombarded by media reports about the drugs issue these days, from stories about famous celebrities being caught in possession of illegal substances to stories about the arrests of high profile international suppliers. The drugs problem is one that just won’t go away, and it has become a millstone at times for some who work in the maritime industry.
It’s all too obvious that crew members who are under the influence of drugs can pose major problems. Even aside from the fact that they have taken illegal substances and could therefore be in breach of both local and international laws, there is also the matter of safety to consider. For this and many other reasons, crew drug-testing has become a way of life for many ocean-going operations.
Every captain likes to think that his or her vessel is completely drug-free, of course, but trusting to luck in this matter really shouldn’t be an option. These days, there is a requirement to implement random drug-testing programmes, in order to ensure crew members are free from illegal substances and are therefore safe to work on board.
Implementing regular testing shows a great degree of responsibility
Regular testing has become a way of life in many industries these days, and while we all know that it would be better to live in a world in which these tests were not needed, it’s a fact that they often are. Crew drug testing helps to show that vessels are safely operated by caring, responsible employees.
Vessel owners, as well as those who operate offshore installations, should have crew drug-testing kits on board at all times. Crew members should not be told in advance about the dates and times of testing, and results should be monitored by supervisors at all times. Any positive test results should be reported immediately to the coastguard.
It goes without saying perhaps that every captain and possibly every owner will hope that no crew member is tempted to dabble with drugs during a voyage or at any other time, but we need more than just hope these days. The temptation of illegal substances can be found in every town and city, and especially in every seaport around the world. Saying no is something we all want our crew members to do, but you just can’t rely on every single one of them to do so. At least we can gain some peace of mind via regular crew drug-testing.