Maritime Crisis Management and Business Continuity


( From natural disasters to reputation scandals, a crisis can rock even the steadiest organizations. While most companies have components of crisis management in place, they typically do not address the crisis from a strategic and holistic approach. Some companies focus on emergency response while others concentrate on business continuity or reputation factors. But who guides the entire response? What is your strategy to integrate the silos? Managed well, a crisis response provides the opportunity to show great leadership and actually strengthen brand, reputation and standing among peers.

Crisis Management – Getting the Top of the House In Order

How big does the incident need to be to require all of your senior leaders to assemble as a crisis management team? Who is informed first? Do you have a defined crisis leader? Having a robust crisis management process in place that organizes the assembly and actions of your upper management is a key factor in protecting your brand, reputation, license to operate, and the relationships and trust you have built up with your stakeholders. Crisis Management is about the ‘strategic what’ to do in crises:

  • A useable, Crisis Management Plan, with helpful checklists and simple tools will establish a process that guides senior leader analysis of the possible impacts of an event. It will structure how they define the current situation, organize facts and details, and even allow them to project how big or bad the crisis can become.
  • Based on this analysis, your crisis management process should enable your crisis leader to establish a strategy that conveys what success looks like after the crisis, what does the company want to look like when they come out the other side.
  • Once the strategy is in place, the senior leaders can organize workstreams and activities for functional teams to take to resolve the crisis.

Business Continuity – It’s Expected … and Required

No longer is a good insurance policy and an IT disaster recovery plan considered sufficient business continuity planning. While insurance will help cover some of your financial risks, and disaster recovery plans may help you get your data back, neither will ensure the continued operation of your business. Business Continuity (BC) can mean different things to different people. Let’s dispel the myth: BC is a combination of operational documents used by the company’s management and subject matter experts to guide restoration of the company’s ability to provide goods and services after a serious or catastrophic disruption. It provides response guidance for a variety of recovery situations. When a disruption occurs, the appropriate plans, in conjunction with input about the specifics of the disruption and the specific business drivers currently in effect, allow efficient recovery of business operations.


Business Continuity Process

  1. Create a Business Continuity Management Policy endorsed by the top Management, which includes definitions, descriptions and mandates.
  2. Identify critical businesses.
  3. Complete a threat assessment for each critical business segment. Determine what potential threats could limit or interrupt the ability to continue to supply each critical product or service to customers at a business-as-usual level.
  4. Conduct a business impact analysis for each critical business segment.
  5. Develop BC Plans for each department and/or function.
  6. Train staff with key business continuity roles on new plans. Socialize their individual and team responsibilities.
  7. Conduct an exercise that allows staff to test the strengths of business continuity plans and identify any gaps that need to be shored up.


Contact an expert

Over the last 35 years, Witt O’Brien’s has worked hand -in-glove with shipping clients to provide vessel response planning, training and incident management in the event of a maritime casualty. However maritime casualties are not the only vulnerability in the maritime field. Incidents such as a natural disaster, hijacking, political unrest, financial disruption, cyber or terrorist attack, or a public relations crisis can also damage a Company’s ability to function effectively and to maintain its reputation, brand and market position. These challenges are felt from operational level through to the firm’s executive leadership.

Witt-O’Brien’s is offering an array of preparedness services specifically developed to help maritime Companies properly prepare for and respond to the many critical threats facing their organization when a crisis strikes. Click below to contact an expert:

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