Oil Companies International Marine Forum SIRE. OCIMF Ship Inspection Report Programme. Measuring Tanker Quality. Now Includes Barges

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1 Oil Companies International Marine Forum SIRE OCIMF Ship Inspection Report Programme Measuring Tanker Quality Now Includes Barges

2 Contents How SIRE evolved 4 The original SIRE Programme 4 The Uniform Inspection Questionnaire 4 The Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (VPQ) 5 Revisions in the year nd edition of the Vessel Inspection Questionnaire 5 The inspection of barges, tugs and vessels carrying road tankers and packaged cargoes 6 The need for a barge inspection scheme 6 Differing vessel types 6 Barge inspection procedures 7 Compiling the inspection report 7 Barge Particulars Questionnaire (BPQ) 8 A common language? 8 Participation 9 Forthcoming questionnaire enhancements 9 Vessel inspection questionnaires 9 Inspection questionnaires for small tankers 9 Inspector accreditation 10 What does accreditation involve? 10 Reducing the inspection burden 11 The reality of over-inspection 11 2

3 Programme access 12 WebSERM2 12 New programme enhancements 12 Meeting standards 13 Port State control 13 Participation 14 Submission of inspection reports to SIRE 14 Submission of operator comments to SIRE 14 Submission of Vessel Particulars Questionnaires (VPQs) to SIRE 14 Access to inspection reports and Vessel Particulars Questionnaires 15 Eligibility to participate as a programme recipient 15 3

4 How SIRE evolved Widespread inspection of tankers among individual oil companies began the early 1990s. Although this assisted their knowledge, they found that inspection of each vessel of potential interest within any reasonable time frame was not possible. In addition, the volume of inspections often overburdened crews. The concept of pooling and sharing inspection reports led to the development of SIRE. The original SIRE Programme SIRE was introduced in November 1993 with the following aims. These were to: make available to OCIMF Members and others who shared OCIMF s concern for safety, details relating to the condition and operational standards of tankers; increase the number of vessels that could be considered for charter; utilise ship inspectors more efficiently; increase the number of vessels inspected; and reduce the number of repeat inspections on the same vessel and thereby reduce the burden on vessels personnel. Report users appreciated the ease of gaining instant electronic access to inspection reports. It improved their ability to screen vessels and make informed decisions as to suitability. Quality tanker operators too, recognised that SIRE was even-handed. It enabled them to add comments relating to reports and they found that SIRE was good for business. The uniform inspection questionnaire In 1997, a uniform inspection report was introduced. This provided a single Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (VIQ) used by all OCIMF Members that submit reports to SIRE. Details of General Particulars from a downloaded report 4

5 The Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (VPQ) To keep the inspector s time on board to a minimum, questions relating to the vessel s structure or other equipment that generally do not change through the lifetime of the vessel were taken out of the VIQ. These were amalgamated with numerous non-commercial questions addressed in the pre-chartering questionnaires used by several major charterers. The outcome was the OCIMF Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (VPQ). VPQs are submitted electronically to SIRE and thereafter made available on the SIRE database. Originally, submission of VPQs by vessel operators was voluntary, but many charterers are critically dependent on it for their vessels assessments and participation is now mandatory. It is therefore important that VPQs are completed with care and updated regularly. Participation by vessel Operators in SIRE as submitters of VPQs is free of charge. Further details can be obtained from OCIMF. Detail of General Arrangement from a downloaded VPQ Revisions in the year nd Edition of the Vessel Inspection Questionnaire Major revisions were made to SIRE in 2000 when the 2nd Edition of the VIQ was released. Questions were clarified, guidance improved and a version specifically for use by SIRE inspectors introduced. 5

6 The inspection of barges, tugs and vessels carrying road tankers and packaged cargoes A major new enhancement to OCIMF s SIRE Programme will take place in the last quarter of 2004 when it will be extended to include the inspection of barges, tugs and vessels carrying road tankers and packaged cargoes. This commences the release of a series of new questionnaires for each of the vessel types inspected under SIRE. The SIRE operating system has been entirely redesigned to take full advantage of the Internet, and this will be to the benefit of all participants that utilise the Programme. The need for a barge inspection scheme Globally, about 20,000 barges carry petroleum, gas and chemical products. Until now, assessing the risk that these vessels pose has been in the hands of individual oil companies, charterers and other interested parties. The extension of SIRE into this field will harmonise these efforts, enhance vessel quality, operating standards and continue OCIMF s objective to eradicate sub-standard tonnage. Differing vessel types Self-propelled and dumb barges carrying oil, chemicals and gas are included in the new programme, as well as tugs that are used in the handling of these barges. The new system also includes the inspection of vessels used for the carriage of road tankers and packaged cargoes. A total of seventeen different vessel types are included. 6

7 Barge inspection procedures The inspection and submission of reports, and the access to SIRE data, will broadly follow the same principles as those used already by SIRE. These will include the ability for operators to submit comments directly to the SIRE website. The format of the report provides a new layout, which separates negative observations from other comments. The Key and Subquestion concept of the existing Programme is replaced with equalstanding questions. Compiling the inspection report 7

8 Barge Particulars Questionnaire (BPQ) As is the case with the existing SIRE Programme, the barge inspection process is designed to reduce, as far as possible, the inspectors time on board and the associated burden this places on crews. Although the inspection report records the condition of the vessel, its equipment and observed operational standards, details of physical dimensions and equipment are specifically excluded. Nevertheless, because such information is important to charterers, the new Programme provides a BPQ to collect and submit these details to SIRE. Particulars relating to the various vessel variants will be reported by the operators in the same way as is undertaken today by tanker operators using the SIRE Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (VPQ). As with the VPQ, participation by operators is free of charge. Submission of BPQ information is a mandatory requirement under the new Programme. A common language? Unlike internationally trading tankers, barges operate in many parts of the world where English is not used. Inspectors who inspect these vessels therefore must be able to converse in the language of the operating personnel. Their reports, however, will continue to be submitted in English. 8

9 When established, the extended Programme will provide a useful tool that will assist operators who may have a limited or non-existent command of English, to submit their comments. Operator comments can be submitted directly to the SIRE website in a number of languages, including French, Mandarin, Korean and Japanese. Thereafter, a report recipient who so desires may use a built-in translation tool that will translate the operator s comments into English. Participation As is the case with the entire SIRE Programme, participation as a submitter of reports is voluntary; increasingly, however, charterers will insist on vessels being inspected as a condition of use. Owners and operators of barges and the other vessel types that will be inspected under this new SIRE enhancement are encouraged to participate by submitting to SIRE, as quickly as possible, details of their vessels. Forthcoming questionnaire enhancements Vessel inspection questionnaires Major revisions to the main SIRE Vessel Inspection Questionnaires (VIQs) are now coming to a conclusion. These will provide separate questionnaires for oil, chemical and gas ships. Inspection questionnaires for small tankers Not all the questions contained in the VIQs are relevant to all vessels. To reduce the inspection burden, a further series of questionnaires will be introduced later in 2004 to streamline the inspection of tankers of less than 5,000 metric tonnes dwt. These will be abbreviated versions of the full VIQs. 9

10 Inspector accreditation One of the most significant enhancements to SIRE has been the Ship Inspector Training and Accreditation Programme. Inspector accreditation was introduced to increase inspector quality and to further increase confidence among Programme Recipients in inspection reports. All inspectors involved with SIRE must attend a four-day course and successfully pass a formal examination. Courses are held periodically at the University of Greenwich in London. 320 internationally based inspectors of more than 20 nationalities are currently accredited. What does accreditation involve? The extension of SIRE to include the inspection of smaller sized vessels, barges and tugs has resulted in changes to the qualifications and experience requirements for inspectors. Those inspectors who are accredited under the existing Training and Accreditation Programme (Category 1 inspectors) are qualified (with certain conditions) to inspect any vessels inspected under SIRE. A second category of inspector will qualify to inspect tankers of less than 5,000 metric tonnes dwt., and a third category will qualify to inspect barges, tugs and vessels carrying packaged cargoes. Category 1 inspectors must: hold a Class 1 Deck or Engine certificate of competency; have sea service of not less than five years at senior officer rank on board tankers; pass a formal written examination; pass an on-board audit and undergo periodic re-auditing; consistently submit reports of a high standard; conduct a minimum number of inspections each year; and periodically attend refresher courses. Category 2 and Category 3 inspectors are required to be qualified in accordance with the type and size of the vessels that they are inspecting. 10

11 Reducing the inspection burden Inspector accreditation has resulted in a significant fall in the overall number of repeated SIRE inspections. Programme recipients are growing in confidence that reports submitted by other OCIMF Members have the same equivalency as those conducted by their own inspectors. The reality of over-inspection At the end of June 2004, SIRE contained 11,803 inspection reports on 4,904 vessels; an average of 2.41 inspections per vessel, per year. This ratio, however, does not tell the full story. The chart below shows that, in 2004, 82 per cent of these vessels had been inspected not more than three times. Multiple inspections on vessels (2002/2004) 2,000 1,500 no. of vessels, 2002 no. of vessels, ,000 Of the 4,904 vessels in the SIRE database at 500 the end of June 2004, 82 per cent had been inspected not more number of times inspected than three times. Usage of the SIRE system has shown that the more up to date a report, the more useful it is. Reports start to lose their value after six months, when many charterers will require re-inspection. The ideal interval between inspections is therefore around 4 6 months. 11

12 Programme access On 17 May 2004, SIRE was recognised at the prestigious Seatrade Awards ceremony, as winners in the New IT Applications for the Shipping Industry category. SIRE won this award for enhancements that use the Internet for submission of reports, operator comments and Vessel Particulars Questionnaires. Access to SIRE data by programme recipients is made directly using the Internet. WebSERM2 A complete revision of the web-based SIRE Enhanced Report Manager (WebSERM) has been made. WebSERM provides a series of design changes that will significantly improve the system for all participants. Vessel operators will be able to attach comments relating to reports directly via the website, as well as entering and updating vessel particulars information. WebSERM2 improves the means to transfer the ownership/management of a vessel between operators without the need of OCIMF involvement. Information relating to report submitting companies, vessel operators, and accredited SIRE inspectors will all be self-administered. New programme enhancements The extension of the Programme to include barges has required major upgrading to the operating system that will benefit all of SIRE and its participants and make SIRE even easier to use. 12

13 Information relating to report submitting companies, vessel operators, and accredited SIRE inspectors will all be self-administrated. Meeting Standards The SIRE system is operated to the ISO 9001 Standard. Migration to the 2000 standard was successfully undertaken in October SIRE is operated to meet compliance with European Union and United States legislation. Port State Control OCIMF cooperates closely with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Paris Memorandum Of Understanding (Paris MOU), the UK Marine and Coastguard Agency (UKMCA), the Australian Maritime Safety Agency (AMSA) and other port State control administrations whose aim is to eradicate sub-standard ships. This has included specialised tanker training of port State inspectors and participation at MOU seminars and events. Many port States publish reports of vessels inspected, together with details where nonconformities or detentions are involved. Reviewing these lists underscores the impact of SIRE on tanker quality. Detentions or non-conformities on tankers are low in the list of vessel types. To reduce the inspection burden on crews, port States are encouraged to utilise SIRE reports in preference to actually inspecting tankers whenever possible. SIRE reports are available to port States free of charge. 13

14 Participation Submission of inspection reports to SIRE Currently, only OCIMF Members can submit inspection reports. OCIMF recognises, however, that charterers who inspect and charter vessels regularly share OCIMF s concern for safety and pollution prevention. These companies may be invited, or may apply to OCIMF, to submit their inspection reports to SIRE. Only accredited SIRE inspectors are utilised to conduct the inspections. The choice of vessels to be inspected, however, is a matter between the inspecting submitting companies and the vessel operator. OCIMF has no role in selecting the vessels to be inspected. Submission of operator comments to SIRE Every SIRE report must be sent to the vessel operator before is it submitted to SIRE. After receipt, the report is held in the SIRE system for up to fourteen days to give the vessel operator time to prepare and submit comments relating to the inspection. During this time, the report is retained at SIRE and cannot be accessed. Once the operator s comments are received, or after fourteen days have expired, (whichever is the earlier) the report can be accessed by all report recipients. The operator is free to make an appropriate response to the comments contained in the report. A new enhancement relating to operator comments provides the opportunity for an operator to update comments, if so required, for a period of twelve months after the report is submitted to SIRE. Submission of Vessel Particulars Questionnaires (VPQs) to SIRE Under the Revised SIRE Programme (1997), tanker operators whose vessels were listed in the SIRE Index could submit VPQs to SIRE. Participation as a VPQ submitter was voluntary and free of charge, but did require enrolment with OCIMF. 14

15 Under the 2004 amendments to the Programme, VPQ participation becomes a mandatory requirement. A further important change is that VPQs can be submitted to SIRE regardless as to whether or not a report has already been submitted. Access to inspection reports and Vessel Particulars Questionnaires Programme recipients can access inspection reports at a small cost. Unlimited access to Vessel Particulars Questionnaires can be made without cost to all Programme participants and also to accredited SIRE Inspectors. Eligibility to participate as a programme recipient Participation as a programme recipient is not open to everyone. Those entitled to participate are: OCIMF Members; bulk oil terminal operators; oil, power, industrial or oil trader companies that charter tankers as a normal part of their business; and governmental bodies which supervise safety and/or pollution prevention in respect of oil tankers, e.g. canal, port and flag State authorities. 15

16 More information? Further information relating to SIRE can be obtained from the OCIMF web site at or directly from: The SIRE Programme Manager OCIMF 27 Queen Anne s Gate London SW1H 9BU United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) A Voice For Safety

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