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Director's Log

This month saw the 31st anniversary of a tragic maritime incident that resulted in a paradigm change in our shipping industry.

On the evening of 6 March 1987, the cross-channel ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized and 193 lives were lost. The immediate cause of the accident was that the bow door was left wide open as the vessel sailed. Thankfully the very thorough inquiry that followed – the Sheen Report – did not stop at identifying the shortcomings of the ship’s master and his crew. It also revealed that the shore management of the vessel was just as blameworthy.

Importantly, Justice Sheen recommended that an independent no-blame investigation organisation be set up in the UK. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) was created in 1989. Since then, they have been conducting thorough investigations into UK maritime accidents, which has allowed us to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them. In March 2015, a mooring incident resulted in a serious crew injury. The lessons learned from the MAIB report issued in June 2017 have been incorporated into the OCIMF Mooring Equipment Guidelines, Fourth Edition (MEG4). MEG4 will be released in the next few months and is an essential read for ship or terminal designers and builders, rope manufacturers and ship operators.

Stay safe,

Andrew Cassels

Director OCIMF

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HM The Queen visits IMO Headquarters

Celebrating 70 years since the treaty establishing the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) was adopted, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit to the IMO Headquarters in London on 6 March.

OCIMF was invited amongst other IMO delegates to celebrate the 70th anniversary. OCIMF was granted consultative status at the IMO in 1971. Since then its well-reasoned technical input has earned OCIMF a strong reputation as a trusted advisor to the IMO.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a commemorative plaque, accompanied by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim. Photo courtesy of the IMO.

New joint OCIMF/SIGTTO publication

We are pleased to announce the publication of the joint OCIMF/SIGTTO Recommendations for Liquefied Gas Carrier Manifolds, Second Edition 2018.

This publication provides recommendations on the layout, strength and fittings for gas carrier manifolds. It updates the book Manifold Recommendations for Liquefied Gas Carriers (2011), which has now been withdrawn from print.

Buy Recommendations for Liquefied Gas Carrier Manifolds, Second Edition 2018

New information paper released

OCIMF released Safety Critical Equipment and Spare Parts Guidance on 29 March.

The paper addresses the need for clear and consistently applied definitions of ‘critical spares’ and ‘critical equipment’ across the industry, and provides guidance on the identification of safety critical spare parts for companies to consider when preparing a Safety Management System (SMS).

Download Safety Critical Equipment and Spare Parts Guidance

OCIMF visit to China MSA

Following on from February’s meeting between OCIMF Director Andrew Cassels and the China Marine Safety Agency (MSA), OCIMF has agreed to support the China MSA in their efforts to improve the safety and environmental performance of tanker shipping in China.

To increase China’s Port State Control inspectors’ knowledge of oil tanker operations, OCIMF will conduct a SIRE Inspector training course in June designed specifically for Port State Control inspectors. A further training course is planned in September for the Zhangzhou MSA in Guangdong Province focused on the ship/shore interface and the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT) Ship/Shore Safety Check-List.

From left to right: E Hailiang (Director of Ship Survey Management Division) Xie Hui (Director of International Affairs Division), Andrew Cassells (Director of OCIMF), Captain Qu Shensen (Ray Marine Consultant Company Limited), Ning Bo (Deputy Director Navigation Safety Division).

MEG4 website live

Our website for our flagship publication Mooring Equipment Guidelines, Fourth Edition (MEG4) is now live.

The aim is to give people a preview of what’s coming in MEG4, to introduce new terminology and to address frequently asked questions. Other features include links to related OCIMF publications, industry guidance and other industry organisations. New content will be added over time – including some introductory videos – so keep checking back for updates.

North America Regional Marine Forum

OCIMF held its first Regional Marine Forum of 2018 on 15 March in Stamford, Connecticut, USA.

Photos courtesy of Eric Wessman, H&H Photographers

The forum took place right after the two-day Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) event and attracted OCIMF members, tanker operators, Flag States and many others from across the industry.

The agenda included thought-provoking and engaging discussions regarding mooring, OCIMF programmes and lessons learned. The panel following each section was challenged and asked several questions from the audience following their presentations.

Details of the agenda and speaker bios can be found here. Photos from the events and copies of presentations have been uploaded on the OCIMF website.

All attendees should have received an email from SurveyMonkey with a link to a brief survey. We would be very grateful if you could complete this as your feedback will help us improve future Regional Marine Forums.

Complete the survey now

Next Regional Marine Forums in June

The next two OCIMF Regional Marine Forums will be held in Tokyo and Rome in June.

Asia Pacific Regional Marine Forum Thursday 14 June

Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan

Evening reception: Wednesday 13 June

Europe and Africa Regional Marine Forum Tuesday 19 June

Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel, Rome, Italy

Evening reception: Monday 18 June

This Regional Marine Forum coincides with INTERTANKO’s 2018 Annual Tanker Event (18-22 June).

Full details including speakers and agenda will be confirmed soon. All Regional Marine Forums are open to both OCIMF Members and non-members. Attendance is free and is sure to fill up quickly – sign up using the button below.

OCIMF looks forward to seeing you at our upcoming Regional Marine Forums.

Register your interest now

IMCA and OCIMF work together to improve OVID

OCIMF and the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) have agreed to establish a joint committee to review, share and progress developments of the Offshore Vessel Inspection Database (OVID) system.

The aim will be to improve the efficiency of the vessel assurance process by pooling the knowledge and expertise of oil companies and their marine contractors, while at the same time maintaining the highest standards of vessel assurance and risk management.

The joint committee will discuss and review various elements of the system on an ongoing basis, to ensure continuous improvement. Elements to be reviewed include the Offshore Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (OVPQ), the Offshore Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (OVIQ) and the Offshore Vessel Management and Self Assessment (OVMSA).

The first meeting will be held at the OCIMF office in London, UK in April.

A day in the life of the MNLO at UKMTO Dubai

OCIMF asked Merchant Navy Liaison Officer (MNLO) Captain Per Laursen Balle (Maersk Tankers) to tell us about his work in Dubai.

"The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) office in Dubai is manned by four officers from the Royal Naval Reserve, the International Liaison Officer and myself. We meet daily for an 08:00 briefing about what has happened overnight. One of the team will have checked on the ships arriving and made a list of those to brief.

We then drive to Jebel Ali port. The port is huge, so it takes approximately 20 minutes to drive from Container Terminal 1 to the far end of the dry cargo berth. Ships that dock regularly are briefed every four months, and the rest are sorted by vulnerability. A briefing onboard a vessel lasts from 25-40 minutes. Generally, the officers are keen, our presence is welcomed and our advice is valued.

We are often asked what to do in various situations, but we can only provide recommendations based on the BMP: Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy. I sometimes describe my own experiences in the pirate-infested waters of West Africa, where I have sailed several times over the last four to five years. We bring a long a list of questions to determine what BMP measures the vessels have in place."

MNLO Dubai, Captain Per Laursen Balle briefing crew members onboard a tanker.

"We normally stop our briefing tour around noon, as some of the vessels’ crew stop for lunch and senior officers often need to relax, especially if they have arrived in the night and must depart again the next night.

Back in the office, we input the information into a database, along with contact details and information about the Citadel and communication systems. This will be passed on to navies so that they know what to expect if pirates board. It is very important to emphasise that in case of attack, all crew members must go to the Citadel/Safe Room, otherwise the navies will not send over forces to rescue.

We also get involved in Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) issues. In 2017 we got a call from the Pakistani Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) – they had a Mayday from a sinking fishing vessel whose crew were all in a life raft. We provided information about ships in the vicinity, which were contacted to help look for the raft. The eight survivors were later picked up by a container vessel. This is a good example of the extra value added by UKMTO."

Polar Water Operational Manual in development

Members of the OCIMF ICE Sub-committee and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Marine Committee have started working together to provide additional guidance to ship operators on developing a Polar Water Operational Manual (PWOM), as required by Chapter 2 of the Polar Code.

Both organisations feel that existing Polar Code guidance needs to be expanded to ensure that manuals contain useful information. Classification Societies acting on behalf of Flag States report a varying standard of documentation, and this new guidance will address these concerns.

The first meeting of this joint working group was held at the OCIMF offices on 7 March. Additional meetings are already planned, with the aim of producing an information paper in the next 12–18 months.

Members of the PWOM working group at the OCIMF offices on 7 March. From left to right: Tim Clark (Japanese Shipowners’ Association), Rob Tustin (IACS), Ian Reed (Shell), Tony Wynne (Nautical Advisor), Uwe Pahl (German Shipowners’ Association), Rob Bridges (Total), George Charalampidis (Research Officer), David Fox (Canadian Chamber of Marine Commerce). Not pictured (members who attended via telephone): Anton Chekmasov (Lukoil), Hans Bjorkestam (Finnish Shipowners’ Association).

OVPQ2 to be released 16 April

The second edition of the Offshore Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (OVPQ2) will go live on 16 April 2018. From that date, vessel operators will be able to create an OVPQ2 for any vessel within their fleet.

The key changes being introduced with OVPQ2 are:

  • A greatly reduced question set. The total number of questions required to complete an OVPQ has been reduced by over 75%.
  • A single-click migration processfrom an existing published OVPQ1 report into the draft OVPQ2 format, ready for completion by the ship operator.
  • Online OVPQ2 Editor
    • To complement the desktop editor, vessel operators will be able to complete an OVPQ2 using an online editor, directly from their OVID account.
  • Vessel technical specification sheet upload
    • Vessel operators will be able to append a vessel’s technical specification sheet directly to their OVPQ2 document.
  • Aligning section numbering within OVIQ and OVPQ operations chapters
    • The numbering sequence used within Chapter 8 (Operations) has been aligned with the upcoming OVIQ3 Inspection Report.

For any enquiries, please contact OCIMF’s Programmes Helpdesk Support at or on +44 (0)20 3 856 7880.

Marine Structures and Civil Engineering Focus Group

The Marine Structures and Civil Engineering Focus Group (MSCEFG) met on 7 March at the OCIMF offices in London, UK.

The agenda included:

  • Updates on the latest OCIMF membership engagement with the Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses (PIANC).
  • Latest work within British Standards Institution (BSI) Committee CB/502 Maritime Works, which addresses maritime works including oil and gas marine facilities and their planning and design. OCIMF has specific representation in CB/502.
  • Current status of the revised OCIMF publications Design and Construction Specification for Marine Loading Arms and Mooring Equipment Guidelines, Fourth Edition (MEG4).

The MSCEFG is a relatively new group for OCIMF but it has already helped to improve communication between operating companies and contractors, which in turn helps improve industry standards. The group welcomed two new members: Chevron and Vopak.

OCIMF welcomes Arjan Maijenburg (Shell) as the incoming Chair and Rabinder Manku (BP) as the new Vice Chair.

BP, ENI, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Shell, Vopak, Chevron and Total are the current members of this sub-committee. Other OCIMF members are welcome. Please contact Joe Megeed if you are interested in joining.

The Marine Structures and Civil Engineering Focus Group. From left to right: Willem van der Zon (Vopak), Arjan Maijenburg (Shell – Chair), Rabinder Manku (BP – Vice Chair), Stefano Treccosti (Eni), Joe Megeed (OCIMF). Not pictured, Jeff Bayham (ExxonMobil), Walter Sonne (Chevron), Eric Berger (Total).

General Purposes Committee

The General Purposes Committee (GPC) held its 86th meeting in Houston, Texas on 21–22 March.

The GPC made several key decisions, including: approval of a forthcoming Turkish Straits information paper; agreement of the terms of reference for an Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS) information paper; approval for starting work on the Master/Pilot relationship initiative; and agreement that the Marine Injury Reporting Guidelines publication will be reviewed and updated.

The committee also elected Jeremy Hudson from Shell as Vice Chair of the GPC, who will take over from Keith Trotter from ExxonMobil.

The 87th meeting of the GPC will take place in London on 10–11 October.

From left to right: David Wall (Chevron), Francesco Paturzo (ENI), Sam Megwa (OCIMF), Kyosti Uusitalo (Neste), Deb Cobb (Tesoro), Arthur Sequeira (P66), Vincent Roullet (Engie), Maxim Tokarev (Primorsk Oil Terminal), Pierre Decarpigney (Total), Patrick Joseph (BP/Chair of GPC), Imran Khan (Excelerate), Ketil Johansen (Statoil), Gonzalo Mera Truffini (YPF), Jon Evans (IMT), Steve Heron (Chevron/Vice Chair of GPC), Keith Trotter (IMT/Vice Chair GPC), Mark Hodgson (SIGTTO), David George (OCIMF), Yuzuru Sato (PIMA), Jeremy Hudson (Shell/Vice Chair elect, GPC), Andrew Phillips (Marathon), Raj Shetty (ENOC), Guy Nicholls (Cheniere).

SIRE New Inspector courses 2018

There are five New Inspector courses scheduled in 2018.

30 April–4 May London Revised date
10–12 April CAT3NA New Inspector Course in Houston COURSE FULL
4–8 June Houston Cancelled due to lack of candidates
15–19 October Singapore  
3–7 December London  

New Inspector courses will be subject to demand and OCIMF reserves the right to either change the date or cancel the course if there is insufficient interest.

For more information on how to register please visit the OCIMF website.

SIRE Refresher 2-day and ECDIS 1-day courses

The following SIRE Refresher 2-day and ECDIS 1-day courses will be held in 2018.

26–27 February Refresher Singapore COURSE FULL
28 February ECDIS Singapore COURSE FULL
11 April Refresher CAT3NA Houston  
14–15 May Refresher London COURSE FULL
11–12 June Refresher US New Orleans COURSE FULL
13 June ECDIS US New Orleans  
22–23 October Refresher Singapore COURSE FULL
24 October ECDIS Singapore COURSE FULL
4–5 November Refresher M/East, UAE COURSE FULL
13–14 November Refresher London COURSE FULL
15 November ECDIS London COURSE FULL

There is no charge to attend SIRE Refresher/ECDIS courses but costs associated with travel to and from the course, the inspector’s time, accommodation and meals are for their own account. All courses will only run if there are sufficient attendees.

To reserve a place on a Refresher Course please contact

Changes to TMSA subscription and SIRE report pricing

Due to the expenses incurred for the development of the latest Tanker Management and Self Assessment (TMSA3) and the ever-increasing costs of support and maintenance, the price of the TMSA subscription will increase from £50 to £75, effective 1 January 2019.

The charge for Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) reports will also increase from £40 to £45 for OCIMF members and from £50 to £55 for non-members, effective 1 January 2019. This is reduced to £31.50 for members if an excess of 1,000 reports are purchased per calendar year (30% discount, increased from 20%), and to £45 for non-members if an excess of 500 reports are purchased per calendar year. The discount is applied retroactively for OCIMF members.

The supplementary charge of £10 for each report forwarded to Third-Party Vetting Contractors remains unchanged. The price of a barge inspection report will also remain at £20.

If you have any enquiries, please contact the SIRE & OVID Contracts Manager at or on +44 (0)20 7654 1229.