"I look forward to working with you in 2024. We are already at full ahead."
The Secretariat, staff and committees worked hard throughout 2023 and marked the first full year operating under the refreshed strategy.
Recognising our substantially increased industry collaboration and outputs and the SIRE 2.0 Project progress, I wish to highlight the collective dedication of all principal and functional committees and expert groups in developing and executing OCIMF’s work plans. Their combined efforts, supported by our members’ subject matter experts, demonstrated successful delivery of the strategy’s intent.
Enhancing communication between committees will be vital in 2024 as our multiyear work plans need coordination to run smoothly and avoid conflicts. To get started, all seven committee chairs will meet at the OCIMF office in February to participate in a workshop. We will explore ways to strengthen relationships and improve communication and coordination at the committee level.
As you will read below, in January we successfully transitioned to Phase 3 of the SIRE 2.0 roll-out, the final testing phase. I congratulate all those who have been working diligently to move this project towards completion.
On the security front, the new year has presented several challenges: increased intensity in the Red Sea with attacks on vessels, pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Guinea and, sadly, a number of seafarers being held hostage. The Maritime Security Committee is monitoring events very closely and is engaged with authorities. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need support.
I look forward to working with you in 2024. We are already at full ahead.
SIRE 2.0 – Phase 3 underway
Following several months of rigorous end-to-end testing of SIRE 2.0 with a sample group of programme users, OCIMF is very pleased to confirm that Phase 3 of the SIRE 2.0 roll-out commenced on 22 January 2024.
During Phase 3, the ability to request SIRE 2.0 trial inspections is available to all programme users for familiarisation and testing purposes. All SIRE 2.0 trial inspections will be fully anonymised upon publication and therefore will not be used for vetting purposes.
For all users of the programme, including vessel crew, this final phase provides a critically important opportunity to test readiness for SIRE 2.0 inspections. Participants will benefit from being able to familiarise personnel with the new regime and make sure that any remedial actions highlighted can be taken before SIRE 2.0 replaces the existing SIRE programme.
From Monday 22 January 2024, users have access to the SIRE 2.0 inspection tab on their registered SIRE user account to book SIRE 2.0 trial inspections. All instructions for facilitating and conducting a SIRE 2.0 inspection are available on the OCIMF website www.ocimf.org/programmes/sire-2-0.
SIRE 2.0 webinars help prepare industry
OCIMF delivered two webinars in January, as part of its commitment to familiarise industry on SIRE 2.0.
The first webinar was aimed at submitting companies and gave attendees an update on the transition phase as well as delving deeper into the inspection management process, best practices for inspection report validation, the resubmission process for reports and the lessons learned from Phases 1 and 2.
The second webinar was targeted at vessel operators and co-hosted with INTERTANKO. As well as giving attendees updates to SIRE 2.0 and the lessons learned from previous phases, HSQ & Marine delivered a presentation giving their perspective on SIRE 2.0 as a vessel operator.
Both sessions were well attended and included opportunities for attendees to ask questions and have them answered in real time. There are plans to host further industry webinars during Phase 3 of SIRE 2.0 prior to launch.
OCIMF thanks Programmes Committee chair
On 11 January the OCIMF Leadership Team, Karen Davis, Aaron Cooper, Saurabh Sachdeva and Phil Pascoe met with Ed Barsingerhorn (Shell) for lunch to recognise his three years as Chair of the Programmes Committee.
The Chair position recently passed to Javed Bhombal (IMT), however this was an opportunity to reflect on Ed’s leadership within the Programmes Committee, his unwavering support to the work of the committee and the associated expert groups as well as to the mission and vision of OCIMF. We wish Ed well on all his future endeavours.
OCIMF welcomed in the new year with its annual reception on Thursday 18 January. Guests were able to network and catch up with fellow industry professionals during the evening.
OCIMF and International Marine Contractors Association pledge greater collaboration
OCIMF and the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 22 January 2024. This MoU formalises a collaborative working relationship and shared goal of promoting safety for the offshore industry.
Both organisations have agreed to identify common areas of interest and for committee and expert groups to work more closely to address them. These range from dynamic positioning, competence and training, maritime security, offshore marine operations, maritime autonomous ship systems (MASS) operations and assurance, environmental sustainability, to sharing incident learnings to assist the development of best practice for the offshore marine sector.
OCIMF is looking forward to managing offshore operational risks and continuing its work with IMCA to support the health, safety and wellbeing for those engaged in offshore operational activities.
Maritime security snippets
ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) launched its 2023 Annual Report at a Nautical Forum meeting in Singapore on 9 January.
Mr Krishnaswamy Natarajan, Executive Director of the ReCAAP ISC, said: “While the total number of incidents of armed robberies against ships in Asia has increased in 2023, I am heartened to note that there have been several arrests of the perpetrators. These arrests serve as a deterrence and send a strong signal to the organised criminal groups that any acts of armed robbery against ships in Asia will be severely dealt with.” He added, “Notwithstanding, we continue to see a high number of incidents in the SOMS [Straits of Malacca and Singapore], one of the busiest shipping lines of maritime trade in the world. I urge the littoral States of the SOMS to do more to eradicate the organised criminal groups operating in this area by engaging the land and maritime agencies...and to respond promptly to all reported incidents.”
The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) released its Piracy Report for 2023 on 11 January.
The report recorded 120 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2023 compared to 115 in 2022. This included the first successful hijacking of a vessel off the coast of Somalia since 2017, reported on 14 December. IMB Director Michael Howlett said: “This is a cause for concern and the IMB is once again calling for all Masters and vessel owners to continue following the recommendations and reporting procedures as per the latest version of the Best Management Practices.” He added that the incident demonstrates the continued capabilities of the Somali pirates.
More details can be found here.
Red Sea – Operation Prosperity Guardian
Members will be aware of Operation Prosperity Guardian, a US-led, multinational coalition formed in December 2023 to respond to Houthi-led attacks on shipping. OCIMF’s Maritime Security Committee (MSC) has been meeting weekly to share knowledge and experiences of operating in this challenging environment. On 10 January, the MSC was briefed by US Navy officials, enabling a greater understanding of the threats posed to vessels.
The IMO’s 2024 meeting season opened with the 10th session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 10), which was held at the IMO headquarters from 22–26 January.
The following summarises the agenda items of relevance to OCIMF and its members.
Impact of underwater-radiated noise (URN) from ships
- SDC 10 agreed on a finalised management reference chart to support the implementation of URN guidelines. This will be included in the IMO Revised Guidelines for the reduction of URN with a view to approval by MEPC 82.
- Development of draft guidance for Experience Building Phase (EBP): This guidance sets out key areas where EBP was deemed of higher importance. The EBP is to initially take place over three years and will include aspects such as operational and technical measures for energy efficiency and their contribution to URN reduction.
- Agreement of a draft action plan to guide IMO’s work on URN going forwards. This is subject to endorsement by MEPC 81.
Matters relating to the SOLAS Convention
- Emergency towing arrangements on ships other than tankers: development of guidelines under progress
- IMO’s Goal-based approach: Revision of SOLAS Chapters II-1 and finalisation of goals, functional requirements and expected performances for parts C, D and E. Corresponding revision to guidelines on alternative design and arrangements (MSC.1/Circ.1212/Rev.1) to be considered by MSC 108 for approval.
- Proposed amendments to regulations on steering and propulsion to reflect modern systems: Work to progress via an intersessional correspondence group and reported to SDC 11.
Other safety-related matONPters
- Considerations on the use of fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) in ship structures: Revision of existing IMO FRP guidelines to focus on recyclability and fire safety to be discussed intersessionally and reported to SDC 11 next year.
- Use of remote inspection techniques (RIT) – A general appreciation of the merits of RIT was noted. Next steps include drafting of guidance for use of RIT to be discussed intersessionally and reported to SDC 11.
A summary report will be made available to members in due course.