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* LEPL – Teaching University – Batumi State Maritime Academy (BSMA)
53 Rustaveli St., 6010 Batumi, Georgia

†Seagull Maritime AS
e-mail: ninogujabidzekajaia@gmail.com, web page: http://www.bsma.edu.ge

Keywords: APRO, psychometric, approach, competence, assessment


The present paper deals with the analysis of advantages Ability Profiling (APRO) Psychometric
tests use in Maritime Education and Training (MET). Accordingly, the first part refers to the review of
the requirements related with navigational and cargo handling competence of the future marine
officers. The second part presents the results of our research of the application of APRO tests in
maritime studies. Novelty of the research is interrelated with its theoretical importance – putting the
benefits of psychometric approach into MET. The analysis of requirements of the International
Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) shows a
wide range of proficiency required for certification of the future bridge officers. Consequently, they
should be able to perform three major functions: navigation at the operational level, cargo handling
and controlling the operation of the vessel and care for persons on board [1]. The stated functions
represent nautical knowledge, competence and skills, clearly possible to be assessed through the
maritime assessment tools. But not only maritime proficiency provides safe navigation. Research of
annual database of European Maritime Safety Agency shows that 60.5% from 1170 fixed accidents
were caused by a Human Erroneous Action, when inability of crew to filter information and to make a
priority between vitally and secondary importance information causes serious accidents [2].

2 Seagull ARPO Approach – the Way to Provide Safety at Sea

Accordingly, within the entire chain of the steps of planning and implementation of the passage,
the officers deal with a huge amount of information related with the state of the ship, her equipment,
nautical and weather charts, current, tidal and meteorological information; routeing, reporting
systems, pilot messages, rapidly changeable radar and ECDIS data. Reality of shipping requires not
only nautical competence, but development of managing and filtering skills of rapidly coming
information. Naturally, assessment of the above stated competence needs a modern approach. In our
opinion (backed by results of research and personal participation in testing), one of the most effective
ways to provide the stated abilities, is to apply Seagull developed Ability Profiling (APRO)
psychometric tests. Seagull’s Psychometric assessment tool, APRO Program is the sole psychometric
assessment tool, created for the maritime industry. The evaluation foresees 7 dissimilar tests selected
to evaluate how an applicant perceives, processes and acts on information. In essence it trials speed
versus accuracy. The speed/accuracy ratio makes possible to identify the candidate’s potentials.

Conclusion - Advantages of putting APRO tests into MET

In our opinion, based on conducted research (kindly provided by Mr. Torger Tau), APRO tests have
a double effect: - selection of appropriate candidates for sea service and promotion of modern trends
in maritime education and training. Let us bring an example of the assessment of the applicant, clearly
showing his abilities to be employed at such important position, as the Officer in Charge of
Navigational Watch: “A very strong candidate with excellent abilities: Raven - The candidate scores
well above average (7) both for speed and accuracy. Although the candidate has one error in the first
subset, which indicates lack of focus, he manages to complete a very good Raven test. He invests time
in order to get the correct answer, without investing too much time. The candidate’s scores indicate
high general intelligence and very strong abilities within logic thinking. NuFi - The candidate receives
a very poor (1) accuracy score and an average (5) speed score. The candidate starts out very well, with
perfect accuracy and good speed. It seems that the candidate is disturbed somehow towards the end of
the test, as seven of the last eight tasks are answered incorrectly, and on the very last, the candidate
has spent an unreasonable amount of time. DOTS - The candidate scores well above average (8) for
accuracy and above average (6) for speed, indicating good abilities in this area. The candidate
manages to increase his speed towards the end of the test without a great increase in the number of
errors, which indicates good learning abilities. Hands - The candidate receives a perfect (9) accuracy
score and an average (5) speed score, indicating exceptionally strong global visual perception. BIF -
In this test, the candidate scores above average (7) for accuracy and well above average (8) for speed,
again indicating strong abilities in the test area. FICL - The candidate scores well above average (8)
for accuracy and average (5) for speed. Again, the candidate has invested time in order to get a correct
result. This indicates a thorough candidate, and is a very good sign. The candidate again demonstrates
strong abilities. FIDR - The candidate scores above average (6) for both speed and accuracy. It is not
uncommon to see signs of fatigue in this test, but the candidate shows no such signs.” [5] At the same
time, as the second advantage of Seagull APRO approach, let’s see the results of one and the same
applicant, who, at the first time of passing, displayed the following results: “A candidate with
accuracy well below average and below average speed. The candidate has a speed-accuracy ratio of
1.2, indicating a strong preference for speed over accuracy. This may indicate that the candidate is
interested in completing the test quickly. It is difficult to draw any conclusions from these test results
as it seems that the candidate either has no interest in doing well on this test, that the candidate is
extremely nervous or that the candidate is suffering from fatigue. If these test results were correct, this
candidate could not be recommended for hire onboard a vessel.” [6] But being tested the second time
(after passing an intensive course of information skimming and scanning) he significantly improved
his results: “In general, this is an above average candidate; however, on several of the tests, the
candidate shows signs of nervousness or other stress factors which affects the test results. On four of
the sub tests, the candidate’s accuracy scores are below average. The candidate has no particularly
weak or strong abilities – he or she scores within the average on input, processing and output, both for
speed and accuracy. The candidate receives an average accuracy score of 5.0 and an average speed
score of 5.1. The candidate’s accuracy score is in many ways “saved” by his good results on NuFi,
Dots and FICL. The candidate has a speed-accuracy ratio of 1.0, indicating an equal prioritization of
speed and accuracy.” [7] Accordingly, special maritime disciplines should be aimed at development of
not only nautical competence, but also at provision of logical thinking, application of previous
information in new surroundings, visual attention, self-control and time management, micro and
macro visual perception, fast and proper decision making, space coordination and space-perception.


[1] The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for
Seafarers (STCW), London, IMO, 2011
[2] Annual Overview of Marine Casualties and Incidents 2017, European Maritime Safety Agency,
2018 [online]. [Viewed date 24 June, 2018]. Available from: http://www.emsa.europa.eu/news-
[3] Lessons learned, Consolidated version of Grounding, IMO, 2018, [online],[viewed date:
[4] Seagull Ability Profiling test 1
[5] Seagull Ability Profiling test 2
[6] Seagull Ability Profiling test 3
[7] Seagull Ability Profiling test 4