A special task force has been set up by the energy majors and key ship charterers to investigate different way of conducting ship vetting inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic.
OCIMF recommends Covid-19 guidelines for vetting inspectors
In its latest updated guidance to inspectors, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) said this group is looking at strategies and methods in the short and mid-term to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on inspection programmes, their users, ships’ crew, operators and inspectors.
TradeWinds understands this could include looking at how to conduct inspections remotely and the technology that would be required for this.
OCIMF, whose members have ownership of the Ship Inspection Reports (SIREs), Offshore Vessel Inspection Database (OVID) and barge inspection report (BIRE) reports for vessels, has been battling to find ways to keep inspections moving and extend validity of vetting reports as the pandemic lockdowns make life more complex for inspectors.
In its new guidelines OCIMF, which does not arrange inspections, said the company submitting the vetting report and the inspector should discuss potential safety, travel and accommodation arrangements.
It gives advice on arranging travel and accommodation and suggests the two parties develop contingency plans before an inspector is sent out.
OCIMF advises against inspectors driving long distances as this will “inevitably” increase exposure to the virus, and sleeping on board a vessel is discouraged.
The new guidance also advises on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing for inspectors.
Aside from stating that inspectors should comply with requirements on this, it recommends that inspectors carry at least one spare set of PPE which includes a disposable suit, face mask and gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
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OCIMF said this is “as a precaution to avoid the possibility that they will not be permitted to transit through a terminal or facility.”
Inspectors are also informed they should notify OCIMF and the companies instructing them if the contract coronavirus or are exposed to it.
OCIMF has already increased the availability of its ship vetting reports from 12 months to 18 months and has said there are likely to be fewer new reports available from some regions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has also encouraged members to consider deferring ship vetting inspections, use existing reports and look closely at the safety of those involved.
In addition, OCIMF has suspended all training and accreditation activities, including audited inspections and accompanied inspections until further notice.