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Director's Log


Welcome to the July edition of the OCIMF newsletter. July traditionally sees the completion of our spring round of committee and workgroup meetings and provides time to progress agreed work items and draft publications. We are currently in the final production stages of the Ship to Ship Transfer Guide, the US Barge Operations Guide and Guidance for Offshore Support Vessel Operations in Ice or Severe Sub-Zero Temperatures. A working group of the Offshore Vessel Inspection Database (OVID) Focus Group has also made excellent progress in developing additional inspection variants expanding the scope of the marine equipment that may be assessed using the OVID programme.

At the International Maritime Organization (IMO) the final meetings prior to the summer recess were completed in the latter half July with the 110th session of Council. The Council adopted the reports of the committee's without amendment, introducing a significant change for the tanker sector with the modification of SOLAS II-2/4.5.5. This modification reduces the dead weight limit at which fixed in a gas installations are required to 8000 deadweight from the existing 20,000 deadweight threshold. OCIMF welcomes the change as contributing to the reduction in fire and explosion incidents that have been witnessed in smaller tankers over the last decade.

The IMO Secretary General, Koji Sekimizu, also set the theme for world Maritime Day 2014: The Effective Implementation of IMO Conventions. In doing so he reinforced his stated vision for IMO to focus upon effective technical regulation of international shipping.

SIRE auditors' conference

The seventh annual Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) auditors' conference took place on 18 June at the OCIMF offices in London. Twenty-two auditors from across the globe were in attendance.

SIRE Auditors in Horizon at OCIMF 19 June 2013.JPG

Captain David Cotterell, OCIMF director, opened the conference welcoming the attendees and reiterating the appreciation for their support and contribution in maintaining the quality of inspectors and the integrity of SIRE system. David also gave an update on the work and the future plan and activity of OCIMF.

The conference is an opportunity for open and productive discussions on a variety of issues relating to improving the auditing process and the SIRE system. Topics covered on the day included the auditing process, initiatives to minimise audit failures by new inspectors and the proposed audit plan. The feedback from the attendees on the conference was positive, indicating that the day was very productive involving fruitful discussions.

The seminar was concluded with the evening dinner attended by the auditors, and the OCIMF SIRE team.

The China Oil Transportation Safety Forum

The China Oil Transportation Safety Forum (COTSF 2013) is the largest annual tanker safety forum in China. This years event took place in Dalian on 18 July. It focused on improving safety and preventing pollution across marine energy transportation, while promoting China's participation in international shipping. OCIMF was represented by our Senior Technical Adviser, Raj Shetty.

The keynote address was delivered by Song Jiahui (Safety Director at the Ministry of Transport Peoples Republic of China) who spoke on the significance of the forum in promoting China's oil transportation safety.

The programme focussed on trends and developments in the maritime industry. The focus of the morning's forum was the latest developments in the industry, and Raj spoke on 'Maritime Safety - Developments in the energy sector'. Three technical sessions took place in the afternoon. The first covered oil transportation and terminal safety management with representatives from IMT, Shell and BP sharing perspectives on marine assurance and the tanker management and self-assessment process. Session two looked at ship design and building with focus on energy efficiency, noise control and safety factors in design. And the third focussed on domestic shipping and covered a wide range of topics covering oil and gas transportation, gas recovery system and dual fuel engine technology.

The event was attended by around 180 leaders from the Chinese maritime community, representing oil companies, ports and terminals, shipping, design, shipyards and manufacturers. The day was co-sponsored by the China Classification Society (CCS), China Ocean Shipping (Group) Corporation and China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation.

Seatrade Middle East Workboat & Offshore Show


We will be at the Seatrade workboat show from 30 September - 2 October. You can visit us on stand E51 to see what's new with the Offshore Vessel Inspection Database (OVID). In addition OCIMF will be hosting a reception on the 30 September.

We are also hosting a two day OVID refresher course to coincide with the event. The course, for current OVID inspectors who require renewal of their credentials, is on the 29-30 September.

An OVID workshop, which will be open to member companies, inspectors and vessel operators, will be taking place on 2 October. Admission is free of charge.

If you would like to attend either the OVID refresher or the OVID workshop please contact Sean Nicholson at to register your interest.

Questions & answers

This month we put your questions to Pierre Karsenti, OCIMFs deputy director.


What do you think has been the most significant thing to come out of the International Marine Organization (IMO) in the past year?

Environmental matters have been an important focus for the IMO for several years now but progress in these areas has been subject to much political debate as representatives attempt to balance many differing national positions with consensus proving difficult to reach. 2012 has seen a change of pace with aggressive target setting giving way to more realistic and pragmatic solutions proposed.

The most significant measure in regulating tanker safety in 2013 was the Maritime Safety Committee's decision to lower the threshold of compulsory Inert Gas Systems to 8000 deadweight tons. The requirement enters into force in 2016.

What are your thoughts on the revised International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC) Code?

The 2012 amendments to the IBC Code primarily focus upon the lists of cargo types contained within Chapters 17, 18 and 19 of the code. The consequence of these amendments is some change in carriage requirements as several cargoes are subject to re-categorisation introducing different tank types and/or ship types.

Setting aside electrical equipment specifications and the impact of the Maximum Experimental Safety Gap (MESG), the underlying driver for change was acute toxicity. The work of the joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine environmental Protection (GESAMP) has indicated some inconsistencies in categorisation exist pre and post 2004 requiring further work. Further work is also required to define the carriage requirements of Methanol and Acrylonitrile. More details may be expected in 2014, pending testing and trials. This would indicate that new carriage criteria would be unlikely to enter into force until 2018 at the earliest.

Can you summarise the most recent amendments to the NOx Technical Code?

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) considered and agreed the proposed draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, regulation 13, on Nitrogen Oxides (NOx). To amend the date for the implementation of "Tier III" standards within Emission Control Areas (ECAs) to 1 January 2021, from the current effective date of 1 January 2016.

The draft amendments will be circulated for consideration at MEPC 66 in 2014, with a view to adoption. Here it's up to the US delegation to decide if and how they want to move. They can let things go on or they can want to oppose.

If they oppose then there are two options:

  1. They ask for a vote. At that time the voters will be the countries which ratified MARPOL annex VI, 74 right now. To change it 2/3 majority is necessary, say 50 votes for. Russian Federation gets only 18 supports.
  2. US manage to get an exemption for the US NECA, which is the only one existing right now.

It seems that the Russian Federation proposal during last MEPC was not linked to the US NECA but on the contrary to avoid a possible future NECA which could have been set in the Baltic Sea, the compelling way to their northern ports.

NOx control requirements apply to installed marine diesel engines of over 130 kW output power, and different levels (Tiers) of control apply based on the ship construction date. Tier III controls apply only to specified ships while operating in ECAs designated to limit NOx emissions (currently the North American Emission Control Area and the United States Caribbean Sea Area). Outside such areas, "Tier II" controls apply.

The MEPC approved, with a view to subsequent adoption, draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code, 2008, concerning use of dual-fuel engines.

Can you tell us a joke?

The world's major shipping stakeholders gather to consult the super computer on the future of the industry. After thinking it over they type in their question: in 2050 what size crew will be needed?

The computer screen answers: "The Captain and a dog."

The stakeholders are perplexed. 'Why a dog?' they type.

The computer screen answers: "To stop the Captain touching the machinery."

The stakeholders are even more perplexed. 'So then, why a Captain?' they type.

'Somebody needs to feed the dog' comes the reply.

Next month our senior technical advisor, Raj Shetty, will be answering your questions. Email your questions to by the 12 August to see them answered in the August edition.

Publications news


INTERTANKO and OCIMF developed the Recommendations on the Hazard Assessment of Fuel Changeover Processes information paper. The aim of the information paper is to provide a simple checklist of items which should be part of a Risk Assessment and a Hazard Identification (HAZID) assessment for: main engines, auxiliary engines and boiler systems in oil tankers covering the switching to, and long-term operation on, low sulphur marine distillate fuel.


The Recommendations on the Proactive Use of Voyage Data Recorder information paper was revised at the end of June, and now includes a table that provides examples of 'events' which are indicative of poor practice and may be programmed for identification when analysing VDR data, as well as other minor updates.

Both information papers are available for download from the OCIMF website: