It will never happen to me

I wonder how often we have had this reaction when we hear of a tragedy. Accidents happen to other people. We all comfort ourselves by thinking like this. If we didn't think like this we would never have had the courage to do anything!

 

wonder how often we have had this reaction when we hear of a tragedy. Accidents happen to other people. We all comfort ourselves by thinking like this. If we didn't think like this we would never have had the courage to do anything!

When something does happen, we not only have to cope with what has happened, but we also have to struggle with the realization that it did and can happen to us. This can make each of us think "I am not invulnerable."

You can see some of these changes in perceptions when a ship has been involved in a collision, had a serious accident on board or been sunk. Following such incidents, seafarers have often said to me "I should have been on board that ship, but I had to change" or "I was on that ship on its last journey" or "I was due to join that ship at the next port." Many people - seafarers, shipowners or family members - will link such feelings to the news of the tragedy and many been me"!

The International Christian Maritime Association has produced a handbook on Crisis Preparedness for people working in the maritime ministry. The handbook can be used as a tool when an accident or a maritime disaster occurs; but, it can also be used in preparation for something that might happen in the future. It can help us to consider, now, what can happen here in 'my port', on 'my ship'. Such preparation can help us to be able to respond to the human needs created by such an incident and to cope in the aftermath.

Crisis Preparedness makes us think the thoughts we never want to think, to talk about something nobody wants to hear about and sometimes to do things which to others seem stupid.

In the macho world of the maritime industry we often hear men say, after a fatal accident or an accident where people have been injured: "let's go back to work as soon as possible." In this way they hope to build up a wall around all the anxiety with a form of denial. Denial to such thoughts as: "I'm vulnerable. It could happen to me as well. It should have been me."

To talk about these types of thoughts is not to make people feel that they are weak and not able to cope, but to make the whole group feel stronger and better prepared for the next incident they will have to cope with.

Yes, "it could happen to me - and I should be prepared!"

For further information go to: www.icma-cpc.as/