In engineering there are the difficult problems and the really difficult problems. Getting to the moon or designing a safe replica schooner is difficult. The really difficult engineering problems often require that the user also needs to be re-engineered. Such problems may involve removing addiction or stopping irrational behavior or reducing poverty or altering preconceived notions.
I have often stated that the most difficult problem in my career has been the problem of proper bilge water management in all its forms, and on June 23 and 24 there will be a conference that completes the MAX1Study effort and that discusses the latest developments in that regard. It will address old and new concerns and present the latest thinking in achieving rugged and efficient solutions. Especially the search for efficient solutions is taking center stage and often only after massive study will the efficient solutions start to become more apparent.
Very strangely, in the middle of this work, I came across a very interesting article in the Atlantic magazine about making proper police reforms.
In the United States we are in the middle of deep soul searching with regard to police practices, and based on recent media coverage it may seem like a new problem. However, policing failures have occurred for as long as there is policing and, in this regard, one may wonder if there actually is a rugged and efficient solution to the problem. Remarkably, this Atlantic article indicates that solutions may exist and provides a pretty good roadmap to solutions. The article shows that the solutions cannot be driven by one side and, instead, need to be engaged and maintained by all stake holders on a transparent and collaborative basis.
I would have never expected it, but the parallels between solving policing failures and bilge water management failures are incredibly similar.
I suggest that those who are involved in OWS and bilge water management read the article and then make the following juxtapositions:
Substitute “Ship Owners” for “Police Departments”
Substitute “Ship’s Crews” for “Police Officers”
Substitute “DOJ and USCG” for “ACLU and Black United Front”
Substitute “Illegal Waste Oil Discharge” for “Policing Failures”
Substitute “ECP” for “Police Department Reform Agreement”
Substitute “OCM” for “Body Camera”
At that moment it becomes clear that the solution approach for policing failure as suggested in the article is the same as the solution approach that appears to be most promising in bilge water management. In the article the solution is called Problem Oriented Policing. In maritime we need Problem Oriented Environmental Management. It isn’t easy, but it is possible to solve the problem; so let’s just do it.