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Deputy Director's Log

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We are now four months into the OCIMF monthly newsletter, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on how we're doing so far. Please send any feedback to

June has been a busy month as people try to clear the decks in time for summer, with training courses taking place in Nigeria and Norway, as well as the annual SIRE auditors conference being held in London. Nevertheless, many OCIMF staff members are taking the opportunity to take a well-earned break, indeed our own Dave Cotterell is currently at sea, enjoying a little time aboard "Sea Thyme", so this month the log is being manned by the deputy.

On my regular patch, at the IMO, the two day ship safety symposium (which is reported in fuller detail below) took place in London on June 11-12 with 500 delegates, including OCIMF, in attendance. According to IMO Secretary Gerneral Koji Sekimizi, the symposium aimed to "look ahead to the decades to come, and to the ships of the future. Such vessels must be able to meet clear goals and functional requirements to fulfil the safety and, increasingly, the environmental expectations of society - which are growing ever more demanding."

Koji Sekimizu has wanted to host this symposium since he took office 18-months ago, but held back the symposium until the delivery of the first report into the Costa Concordia accident was issued by Italian authorities. He said, "I simply did not want to intervene in the process of the safety review into the Costa Concordia accident last year and at the beginning of this year with the assurance of the availability of the Casualty Investigation report, I decided to hold the Symposium now".

Of the many fruitful discussions which took place during the event, the most significant may be the suggestion that it may be time to rewrite the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Rewriting SOLAS could be an impressive (and potentially endless) task. SOLAS and the IMO both stemmed from the safety concerns which arose further to the sinking of the Titanic. And as the Costa Concordia reminds us, safety must always come first. So perhaps it's time to get back to basics.

In next month's newsletter we will be starting a new feature - where members of the OCIMF secretariat answer your questions. I will be first up, so if you have any questions on the IMO, on OCIMF or the wider industry, please send them in. Simply email before the 20 July.

SIRE Update

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The feedback system in the Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) has now been in operation for a year.

The aim, when it was introduced 12 months ago, was to gain feedback from users about the quality of the SIRE inspection reports. The system is both user-friendly and easily accessible from the inspection report itself. So far we have seen good use of this system by the users, and have received over 240 feedback comments about the reports. Around 230 of the issues raised by the comments have been closed out following a comprehensive dialogue with commissioning companies and inspectors.

Users of the SIRE reports are encouraged to use the system to record feedback on the reports and contribute in achieving high quality reports. The quality of inspection reports is paramount to maintaining the trust and integrity of the SIRE programme.

In other news:

Harmonised Vessel Particular Questionnaire (HVPQ)
This is a joint programme in collaboration with the Chemical Distribution Institute (CDI), which assisted with distributing templates to OCIMF members for integration into their own computer programmes. The questionnaire has been tested internally and the next stage will be to field test it amongst four volunteer operators. The new HVPQ will then be issued, while the older VPQ4 will be available for some time in order for operators to migrate to the new version.

Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (VIQ)
Final approval from the SIRE Focus Group on the updated question sets is expected to be received this week. The sets will then go to the developers before being field tested with auditor and accredited inspectors. The full roll out is expected to go ahead in Q4 2013.

Report Submission
All the steps required in order for a SIRE submitting member to process a SIRE report (which members who submit SIRE reports will be all too familiar with) have been condensed to a single page wizard to allow for more efficient validation of reports. Contact for details.

Record sales for SIRE
A record 11,131 tanker reports were sold in May.

High expectations for safety and environmental protection: IMO Safety Symposium takes place in London

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The International Marine Organisation's symposium on the future of ship safety took place in London on June 10-11. The two day event aimed to "look ahead in the decades to come to the ships of the future that meet clear goals and functional requirements to fulfil the safety and, increasingly, the environmental protection expectations of Society."

The event brought together experts in the fields of ship design, building and operation, who gave presentations on a wide range of subjects.

Chris Bailey, Technical Vice President, BP Shipping gave a presentation on BP's experience of incorporating operational experience to into new ship design. Speaking to OCIMF after the event, Chris said, "Regardless of rule and regulation owners must be able to learn from their own operations and incidents and retain corporate knowledge with which to make their operations more efficient and drive safety.

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"Regulation drives innovation but new technology must be rigorously assessed and provide fit-for purpose equipment and systems. The use of formal risk assessment tools, from an operators perspective, plays an important part. The current timing of regulation implementation has meant a fast pace of change for the industry, this in itself brings risk to safe operations especially given the current economic climate.

"Although we can do our best to 'engineer out' the potential for human error, the safety culture on-board, driven from the top of the organisation down is an important element, however we must continue to understand the human factors in incidents. The tanker industry has a number of well-established industry bodies and forums (OCIMF, INTERTANKO, SIGTTO), that produce and publish best practice and provide good platforms for the sharing of knowledge with which to drive safe operations."


With 2014 being a landmark year for SOLAS, as it both reaches it centenary and marks the 40th anniversary of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, it's not surprising that much of the discussion at the event centred around whether it was time for an update.

Other sessions at the symposium included a discussion of the probabilistic approach and formal methods for risk assessment in formulating future regulations, the burden of regulations on seafarers and how to reduce paperwork, and how to simplify the man/machine interface. All of the presentations from the symposium are available to download from

In concrete terms the symposium made five recommendations, and asked the Maritime Safety Committee to:

  1. Consider how to improve data collection and increase its availability in order to support monitoring and development of safety regulations.
  2. Consider how to better integrate risk-based methodologies and the latest analysis techniques into the safety regulatory framework to provide a sound scientific and practicable basis for the development of future safety regulations.
  3. Consider ways of encouraging a safety culture beyond mere compliance with regulatory requirements.
  4. Take into account the burden any new or changing regulation(s) place on the seafarers and how this burden can be minimised.
  5. Consider undertaking a long-term comprehensive review of the existing safety regulatory framework with a view to ensuring that it will meet the future challenges associated with the application of new technologies, the human element, the needs of the maritime industry and the expectations of society, taking into account the ever-increasing pace of change and technological advancements made since the 1974 SOLAS and the International Load Lines Conventions were adopted.

Smaller tankers to be included in Tanker Manifolds update

Summary: Concerns as to the fact that smaller tankers (below 16,000 DWT) are not currently included in the 1991 edition of Recommendations for Oil Tanker Manifolds and Associated Equipment were expressed at the recent Tanker Manifolds & Associated Equipment Review Work Group meeting. This group has now been tasked by the Ports and Terminals Committee to review and revise the existing document.

Concerns about ships arriving alongside terminals with manifold specification and layout not in accordance with OCIMF recommended best practice have recently been raised by members.

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The main area of concern has been with smaller tankers (below 16,000 DWT, including the dual class oil/chemical tankers). These smaller tankers are not currently covered in existing documents.

The Ports and Terminals Committee has charged the Tanker Manifolds & Associated Equipment Review Work Group (TMWG) to review and revise the 1991 edition of Recommendations for Oil Tanker Manifolds and Associated Equipment.

The concerns were addressed at the TMWG's second meeting on June 4th in London. The work group reviewed the existing document with a focus on identifying gaps to be addressed during the revision.

TMWG Chairman Tony Pollock (INEOS) has support from Shell, eni, Gazprom, CDI (Chemical Distribution Institute), BP, Essar Oil, and IACS to produce a new edition.

Marine Terminal Information System (MTIS) - the first six months

As we highlighted in the April Edition of the newsletter, the Marine Terminal Information System (MTIS) successfully completed its development phase in January. Created with the aim of improving standards within the terminal industry, and of helping terminal operators identify a clear path for continuous and ongoing self-improvement, after six months we are already seeing very encouraging results.

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We have 321 terminals, almost 10% of the industry, already beginning to fill out the terminal data. The number of terminals that have registered, but not yet started filling out their data, is even higher.

In addition, we have worked closely with some of our members to assist them in setting up user accounts for all of their terminals, indeed our main Chinese contributor CNOOC has registered all 28 of its terminals. This in turn will make it easier for their staff to start populating their terminal data.

The first meeting of the new MTIS Promotion Taskforce took place on May 21 in the OCIMF offices in London. The taskforce elected Tim Coombs of Chevron to chair the working group, with Luciano Maldonado (Petrobras) as vice-chair.

Over the coming months, this taskforce will be working hard to engage with oil companies and terminal operators around the world, to increase awareness of both OCIMF and the MTIS programme.

For more information, or if you require further assistance to get started, please contact

Where we've been this month

  • Oliver Pointon and Shaikh Rahim were in Lagos, Nigeria running an OVID New Inspector Course
  • Sean Nicholson and Oliver Pointon were in Stavanger, Norway running a second OVID New Inspector Course

Upcoming dates

  • 10 - 12 July - TECHNICAL CO-OPERATION COMMITTEE (TC) - IMO 63rd session
  • 15 - 19 July - COUNCIL - 110th session IMO