Our People

Grieg Star is a family owned company, with the fifth generation Griegs as its owners: Elisabeth Grieg, Camilla Grieg, Per Grieg Jr. and Elna-Kathrine Grieg. Indirectly the Grieg Foundation owns 25% of the shares. Per Grieg Sr. leads this benevolent foundation .

To secure a continuing sound family owned business, a program to ensure the knowledge and commitment of the next generation has been implemented. The Next Generation Program gathers the heirs of the four owners on a regular basis to educate and prepare them for a future shift of generation.

Our Employees

Our business success relies on the quality of our people and the work they all do. This requires highly specialised skills, dedication and a professional attitude combined with commercial awareness. Being able to build good relations with customers, business partners and colleagues is imperative for success.

High-level formal education constitutes the basis for any critical competence in Grieg Star. All areas are manned with people educated at university level, spanning from finance, economy and law to engineers and social sciences. Today we have a good mix of recruits at post-graduate entry level and people with longer professional experience in addition.

Other characteristics and personality traits are important above and beyond professional proficiency. In general we always need a sufficient amount of people who have a profound understanding of the nature of our business and our processes, are able to innovate and are open-minded in looking for new solutions, as well as curious and open for change.

In 2018 we had 79 employees in the shore organisation, of which 46% are females. 48 are employed at the headquarters in Norway, while the rest are located at our manning office in Manila. As a rule all staff are employed locally and hired on local terms.

We have a very competent workforce with long service in the company. 41% of the workforce has been in the company for more than 10 years. The age distribution shows that we have a pool of talents with young people, and a group of people who will retire in the coming years, giving new opportunities for the young generation as people retire.

Relying solely on the Philippines as the source for seafaring personnel, all our seafarers are hired through our manning office in Manila or recruited as cadets. The manning office adheres to international ILO conventions as well as the Maritime Labour Convention in all its practices that affect the seafarers.

The seafarers are per agreement contractual workers, but we see a lot of advantages by treating them as regular employees and strive to ensure a high retention rate. Ship officers have 6 months contracts, and receive stand by payment while on leave. Ratings apply for sailing periods of 9 months. All crew is voluntarily organised by international seafarers´ associations, and consequently covered by collective bargaining agreements and any other international rules and standards that apply.

We do not employ any children in our operations, nor accept that our suppliers do so.

The number of sailing personnel is approximately 650 at any given time, of which 14 are female cadets or officers.

We had 43% females in the top management team in 2018. Among all managers 35% were female. The group’s Board of Directors currently consist of 60 % women and 40 % men.

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Percentage of females on shore

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Retention rate seafarers

Training

It is our aim to provide a working environment where our people will thrive and develop by working together, and have the opportunity to combine formal education, on-the-job training and new challenges. We offer our employees a wide range of learning opportunities, which includes both technical and non-technical skills training.

Managers are responsible for identifying training needs together with their employees through daily follow-up and annual employee dialogues. We make use of internal and external classroom training covering a wide range of subjects, which our employees are invited to attend as part of their development. In 2016 we started using e-learning as a platform for self studies for the land organisation within a variety of topics.

New employees go through a familiarisation program with introduction to the company and the duties of their position. In addition employees visit a ship and terminal as part of the introduction program to learn how the ships and terminals operate, as well as meeting the crew.

As part of the knowledge sharing, we also organise events where employees are invited to attend and take part in discussions on subject matters of interest. With respect to our seafarers, education and certificates are the basic formal requirements. The high level of technological specialisation onboard and the general complexity of ship operations combined with regulatory requirements make the demands on competence levels of crew increase. Grieg Star follows the international convention called Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) as well as other official requirements. In addition we have developed a set of tailor made courses and training programs in order to make sure that all the seafarers are able to handle the equipment they meet onboard our vessels, as well as obtain company specific skills.

Competence development and training are vital to ensure operational and situational understanding and to build confidence. In 2018, 1068 training participants were recorded. Some courses are mandatory for all seafarers, while others are specific to rank. In addition we have various quality assessments of seafarers. In total 304 seafarers went through such assessments in 2018.

Training participants 2018

Number of assessments 2018

We continue to have a high focus on leadership, management, communication and team-working skills. In 2018 we had 94 management level officers attending the Maritime Resource Management (MRM) training, a course specifically targeted on how to lead people  and manage resources better. This follows more than 300 participants in previous years.. They will be joined in by the operational level and petty officers, and later, the rest of the ratings. MRM has also been extended to the Technical and Maritime Superintendents (now Vessel Managers) and Grieg Philippines and Grieg Star Philippines employees. The goal is to refresh our managers on best leadership and management practices, put everyone involved in ship management on the same page and speak the same language, enhance ship-shore and onboard communication routines, strengthen the organisational safety culture, and eventually bring down the number accidents and unwanted incidents closer to zero.

MRM participants 2018

Before going on board, all our seafarers have to complete the Pre Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) held in our offices in Manila. The seminar focuses on health, safety, security, discipline, procedures and regulations. Whenever appropriate this includes training, and prevention and risk-control regarding diseases.

All vessels are conducting Safety Representative Working Environment Committee (SRWEC) meetings once a month. The company requires all officers to attend the NIS required SRWEC/PEC course.

Officers’ workshop in the new premises of Grieg Philippines, February 2016

Through the SRWEC meetings the Shipboard Management has the opportunity for to give information to the Officers and Crew and getting feedback and suggestions in return. The SRWEC meetings are important forums where Officers and Crew can freely discuss and gain experience from each other. Areas like safety, security and working environment are in focus and we strongly believe that these meetings are important for rising consciousness with regards to these topics.

The HSSEQ department makes monthly summaries based on all vessels inputs/feedback from the SRWEC reports and all Improvement reports that has been received each month. This is being distributed as experience transfer in our Quality Management Reporting System (QMRS).

Developing competence from within

Academic performance, good communication skills, personal suitability and dedication are essential in selecting our future seafarers.

In preparation for the future need of officers, cadets have been selected every year through the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association’s (NSA) Philippines Cadet Program. Grieg Star, together with the NSA Philippines Cadet Program, interviews and selects the students before they begin their education at one of the leading maritime universities in the Philippines. In 2018, we had 25 cadets. We also source cadets from our own seafarers, where the children or siblings of our sailing personnel, can apply for seagoing service in order to earn their certificates as licensed officers.

One of the most important aspects to evaluate is the cadets’ ability to communicate. Further, we consider the ability to adapt to a life at sea, as well as inquiring about the cadets’ adaptability to teamwork versus individual work. It is also essential to evaluate the candidate’s level of realistic ambition and determination, in addition to the person’s physique as much of the work onboard can be physically challenging.

To ensure harmonious relations onboard, it is also important that the candidates we choose to embark on a journey with are from provinces all over the Philippines, to ensure a geographical spread of our seafarers onboard.

Our PMMA cadets on their graduation 2019

The first years in the company are of great significance to obtain a good understanding of the company culture and operational procedures. An open dialogue to discuss the development of the cadets and the career path ahead of them is important to continuously evaluate the progress made.

Gender and ethnicity equality

Grieg Star does not accept discrimination in any form. This ensures all employees the same opportunities to personal and professional development, irrespective of gender, age, ethnical background, nationality or age. Discrimination shall be nonexistent when it comes to recruitment, advancement and remuneration. Our aim is to give all employees the possibility to reach their potential while increasing Grieg Star´s competitive edge and value creation.

We had no reports of any kind of discrimination in 2018.

Health

Grieg Star maintains an overview of sick leave in accordance with current laws and regulations. In 2018 the general sick leave for the global on-shore organisation was 2,6 %, including long and short term absence. Working environment committees oversees the company’s work on health and safety.

Sick leave is reported and followed up on a continuous basis by the managers in cooperation with the employee and Human Resources Department.

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Sick leave on shore 2018

How we communicate

Good communications is necessary to be able to run a sustainable, responsible and profitable company. Over the years Grieg Star has invested in several solutions to ensure good communications internally and externally.

External communication systems

Beside active usage of web site and social media, Grieg Star used several digital services to interact with our customers, agents and other stakeholders. Through these systems we improve efficiency and accuracy, and reduce the amount of paper consumed and sent.

Internal communication systems

Our main service for internal communication is the intranet 135+ and the combined intranet and online portals Crewnet and Vesselnet. All systems provide extensive information and access to a wide variety of systems, reports and tools important in day-to-day operations. We continuously develop these and new systems according to need.

Our Open Meetings for our employees are held in Bergen at least four times a year.

Video conferencing

With partners and offices in different countries as well as over 30 owned vessels, good solutions for talking to each other are vital. We have started to work on increasing the usage of electronic communication channels like Skype, Facetime and other video systems. In addition to improving the quality of day-to-day communication our goal is also to reduce travel cost and CO2 footprint, as well as bothersome travel.

QMRS

Our existing Quality Management Reporting System (QMRS) was put into force January 1st 2015. Through this we are able to report and capture vital information regarding safety, quality and environmental matters.

Vessel Support Centre

In the beginning of march 2018 we opened our Vessel Support Centre. The centre will be manned by three vessel managers, who will be in direct contact with our masters and chiefs on a day to day basis. They will be able to chat, phone or have video calls with the ship wherever they are in the world. That means the vessels will be able to have a much broader competence base ready to support them if there is an issue onboard. Route planning tools are available for all and are easily discussed and monitored. The centre will make it easier to compare and share best practice between ships and people. Dashboards and machine learning make it possible to quickly identify deviations on everything from lube oil usage to valve pressures and fuel consumption.

The Vessel Support Centre makes it easier for the land organisation to help the Masters and crew onboard our vessels, using high end systems and video conferencing. 

On board internet access

For most seafarers, contact with family and loved ones at home is one of the most important welfare concerns.

To ensure such contact, all our ships are equipped with a system that gives our seafarers access to personal e-mail, unlimited SMS text messaging, social networking and browsing the Internet. Through 2017 we finished an upgrade to the internet connection onboard, giving the seafarers an even better access.

Mobility

To ensure flexibility, most land based employees are equipped with lap tops and mobile phones. This makes it possible for them to work from outside the office if needed, either for private or business reasons. They have access to all the same systems and communication channels when outside the office by using virtual private networks (VPN).