COVID-19 updates

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Director's Log

I hope that you are all in good health and keeping safe during the extraordinary situation we find ourselves in.

While China and some other Asia-Pacific countries have been coping with COVID-19 for some time and are hopefully seeing things improving now, other parts of the world are at the beginning of the curve. Like many companies and organisations, the OCIMF Secretariat are working from home and holding virtual meetings. How long this will last is anyone’s guess and, as mentioned before, I have always been an advocate of planning for the worst and hoping for the best. We, in the Secretariat, are lucky that most of our work can be done from home and we are not on the frontline of physical interaction with others. I hold the deepest respect and appreciation for health workers who have no option but to keep going and, in doing so, put themselves in potential danger. We should not forget other workers that provide essential services and goods and one group of those is, of course, seafarers. The impact on them is tremendous, with extensions to crew-change periods, concern for family back home and interfacing with other people who need to board their vessels and the additional concern that even that must raise at this time of uncertainty.

Currently, one of the biggest issues for us is the disruption to SIRE and OVID inspections. It may not sound like a big deal, but industry stakeholders are used to having reports available and frequently updated. Due to COVID-19 being a dynamic virus, countries are being affected to different extents and the situation changes almost daily. We have been issuing periodic updates to members, inspectors, operators and report users and encouraging all to be take pragmatic approaches to inspections and report acceptance during these difficult times. The latest bulletin is included in this newsletter and provides some clarity on pragmatic considerations. Because the situation is fluid, no single solution can be applied for all locations and our members and report users will continue to set their own expectations. However, health, safety and the environment should always be top priority.

I wish you all good health and a safe April.

Rob Drysdale
Director OCIMF


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OCIMF COVID-19 update bulletin #6: SIRE/OVID inspections and reports

COVID-19 continues to challenge our industry on many fronts.

While we all work through this unprecedented situation it is important to maintain delivery of essential goods and services on a global basis. OCIMF members, SIRE/OVID report users, vessel operators and inspectors are finding it very difficult to continue normal inspection regimes due to restrictions in travel, access through terminals, social distancing and health and safety considerations to varying degrees depending on location. The situation is fluid and will continue to change country by country for some time. This latest update aims to provide additional guidance on inspections and use of inspection reports. OCIMF continues to encourage stakeholders to apply a pragmatic approach during this period of impact and for operators and inspection submitting members to maintain close communication.

OCIMF members

OCIMF members will be acutely aware of many restrictions in place which impact their ability to conduct SIRE and OVID inspections. These restrictions vary on a country by country basis and are continuing to evolve almost on a daily basis.

The decision to undertake an inspection, or not, is for the member company. OCIMF would however encourage all decisions in relation to conducting an inspection to have safety and health considerations of all those involved at their forefront.

The OCIMF vision is “No harm to people and no harm to the environment”. With this vision in mind, a pragmatic approach may include consideration of the following:

  • Can an inspection be deferred to a later date – is it essential at this time?
  • The health and safety of all those involved in the inspection, and those they interface with to conduct the inspection.
  • What steps need to be taken to adequately protect the people involved, including social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE), if the inspection goes ahead?

SIRE/OVID report users

OCIMF expects a much-reduced number of new inspection reports will be submitted to the SIRE and OVID databases because of the challenges of undertaking the inspections during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipients of reports from both databases are encouraged to consider this new reality and take a pragmatic approach when reviewing reports against the current COVID-19 background. The decision however is for the report user to make.

A pragmatic approach may include consideration of the following:

  • Age of the Report - can an older report than normally required be accepted?
  • What are the additional risks if an older report is used?
  • Can these risks be mitigated through other means, e.g. additional data from the operator or from other sources?

Extension of SIRE/OVID report availability due to COVID-19

As mentioned in the bulletin released last week, OCIMF is extending the availability of live reports in the SIRE and OVID programmes to 18 months. In order to do this, some changes in the system are needed. The intention is to go live with extended reports on 1 April.

We hope this action will assist both marine assurance organisations and operators during this period of uncertainty.

The OCIMF Secretariat is regularly reviewing the situation as it changes and are investigating potential options that could be applied if the situation trends to a longer-term issue. We will provide updated bulletins as new information becomes available.


Navigation and Routeing Sub-committee

Intersessional call: 18 March, virtual meeting (hosted by OCIMF)

Since the 57th Navigation and Routeing Sub-committee (NaRSuC) meeting took place January 2020, NaRSuC dialled-in over inter-sessional calls in February and March to finalise the following drafts, which will be published July 2020:

  • Recommendations on the Proactive Use of Voyage Date Recorder Information, 2nd edition.
  • Recommendations on Usage of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Preventing Incidents.

The group also progressed Guidelines for transiting the Turkish Straits, 2nd edition, and began their review of and recommendations for the following existing publications:

  • Disabled tankers – Report of Studies on Ship Drift and Towage.
  • Drift Characteristics of 50,000 to 70,000 DWT Tankers.

Some NaRSuC members are also involved with ongoing workshops for identifying key tanker-related risks and opportunities for OCIMF.


Human Factors Focus Group

4th meeting: 9-10 March, virtual meeting (hosted by OCIMF)

The Human Factors Focus Group (HFFG):

  • Finalised OCIMF’s Human Factors Approach, including three key elements, i.e. risk priorities, a framework for understanding the impact of human factors on risk management and opportunities for action.
  • Outlined human factors observations on OCIMF inspection programmes and vision on future programmes such as the Vessel Inspection Programme (VIP).
  • Discussed possibilities to enhance human factor capabilities within OCIMF and its membership.
  • Progressed human factor analysis on improving the quality of incident investigations.
  • Progressed review of draft Tanker Management and Self Assessment (TMSA) elements on human factors.

North America Inland and Coastal Barge Focus Group

17th meeting: 26-27 February, Houston, USA (hosted by IMT/ExxonMobil)

The North America Inland and Coastal Barge Focus Group (NAICBFG) reviewed:

  • Discussion points from the second North American Barge User Group.
  • Training and accreditation of North American SIRE CAT 3 inspectors.
  • Management of OCIMF operations following the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • SIRE report feedback issues raised by members related to the North America regional variant.
  • Updates from around the barge regions and OCIMF’s Committee Structure as related to barges.
  • Status updates on OCIMF’s strategy implementation.

Next meeting: 2-3 September, Houston, USA (hosted by Shell)


North America Barge User Group

2nd meeting: 26 February, Houston, USA (hosted by IMT/ExxonMobil)

North America Barge User Group (NA BUG), which had 27 attendees from OCIMF members and vessel operators located across the region, reviewed and discussed:

  • A brief up-to-date overview of OCIMF for new attendees.
  • Shared SIRE programme statistics and development updates.
  • Discussion topics included:
    • Distribution and continued supply of North American CAT 3 inspectors in the region to cover for retirements, etc.
    • The use of the OCIMF incident repository for inland and coastal barges.
    • General inspection process issues.

Next meeting: 2 September, Houston, USA (hosted by Shell)


Marine Terminal Focus Group

14th meeting: 26-27 February, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (hosted by Shell)

On the first day, the Marine Terminal Focus Group (MTFG) discussed:

  • The current status of the Marine Terminal Information System (MTIS) database.
  • Completion of the second iteration of the Marine Terminal Particulars Questionnaire (MTPQ2).
  • Berth Comparison tool.
  • Updates on a meeting that held on the previous day with the Dubai Port Authority.

On the second day, 17 personnel from marine terminals around the Dubai/Jebel Ali area attend the meeting and listened to a presentation on the benefits of MTIS. In the afternoon, MTFG personnel helped them with registering their terminals in the database; ten new terminals were added.


Ship to Ship Focus Group

14th meeting: 19-20 February, The Woodlands, USA (hosted by ExxonMobil)

The main topics of discussion included:

  • Completion of OCIMF’s Ship to Ship Service Provider Self Assessment.
  • Draft of OCIMF’s Guidelines for the Handling, Storage, Use, Maintenance and Testing of STS Hoses.
  • Possible participation in a MARIN Joint Information Paper on certified mooring master assessment and training.
  • Progress on an environmental mooring study being conducted.

IMO updates

Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction

The seventh meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC 7) was held 3-7 February in London, UK.

The meeting agreed:

  • Draft guidelines for second-generation intact stability criteria and work on explanatory notes for further guidance on its application.
  • Key points of the draft Industrial Personnel (IP) Code, including boarding procedure for industrial personnel and handling dangerous goods coming with them, and further work with a view towards completion at the next meeting.
  • Not to amend the 2011 Enhanced Survey Programme (ESP) Code to address the proposed use of remote-survey technology, including the use of drones, until the IMO establishes technical details.

Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response

The seventh meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 7) was held 17-21 February in London, UK.

PPR 7 approved 2020 Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) for adoption at the 75th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75), which has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PPR 7 agreed to refer to MEPC.1/Circ.883 for the system malfunction. PPR 7 also agreed on the scope of future work on the impact assessment of washwater discharged from open loop scrubbers.

PPR 7 also agreed:

  • Draft amendment to the MARPOL Convention to prohibit the use and carriage of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) as fuel for ships in Arctic waters.
  • Further work on black carbon emissions in the Arctic.
  • Draft sampling guidelines for fuels in tanks, e.g. how to analyse samples from ships, for approval by MEPC 75.
  • To maintain MEPC.1/Circ.886 on the carriage of paraffin-like substances, which states that old product names should be retained and new product names and carriage requirements should be provided as an addendum to the Certificate of Fitness until the amendment to the IBC Code enters into force on 1 January 2020.