Three Questions for Captain Ralph Becker-Heins
- Why do you like the field that you work in and why is it important?
The sea and the maritime world were fascinating me from childhood, and I had the incredible privilege to be able to make this passion a profession. Navigation, my specialisation – what was an enigmatic craftsmanship during centuries before – became an open science during the last 100 years, but still with its own fascination. Looking at today’s challenges in global supplies, advanced navigation is one of the key factors to ensure safe and timely maritime transport.
- What do you think is the most important development in your field (and why)?
From a historic point of view, surely the most important development of precise clocks. This eventually facilitated the story of an epic scientific quest: the search for the solution of how to calculate longitude and the unlikely triumph of an English genius. As of today, digitalisation on board ships is of pivotal importance for ever smarter solutions, affecting not only the way ships are managed but also the impact on shoreside and hinterlands actors in the transport chain.
- What is the most urgent lesson you would like to teach young professionals that are new in the field?
Coming back to the old days there was the motto ‘God supports a good helmsman, but the job of steering a ship he as to do on his own’. Today this could mean that a good mariner should never blindly trust in smart computer works onboard a ship. Instead he must constantly challenge the displayed information of so-called digital expert systems, trusting his own active mind.