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Tanker Shipping & Trade

Tanker Shipping & Trade

Tanker industry still seeks clarity on vetting

Thu 26 Oct 2017

Tanker industry still seeks clarity on vetting
Capt Howard Snaith (CDI): “We do listen, and we do act”

Vetting can be frustrating and annoying but also satisfying and profitable, as delegates at Intertanko’s annual event in Houston heard

Intertanko’s annual meeting in Houston played host to a lively session on vetting. Tanker Shipping & Trade was able to attend and report on the key talking points under the Chatham House Rule. This states that information disclosed at the meeting can be reported by someone present, provided the source of the information is not identified.

Delegates learnt that there are about 186 different permutations and combinations for satisfying current oil major vetting requirements, a statistic that inevitably led to much discussion around the number of vessel inspections. One owner referred to present vetting requirements as “completely unrealistic” “We have terminal inspections, ships get inspected by the oil majors, by the chemical companies, yet when they go into port, they go alongside, the terminal wants to inspect them for their own standards. We would like to see a lot more interaction between the shipping divisions and the terminal divisions, and sharing of information on that side.”

There are about 186 different permutations and combinations for satisfying current oil major vetting requirements

Another request was that port state control and OCIMF collaborate more strongly, and that information sharing prior to an inspection be enhanced.

The most common causes of vetting failures were identified as engineroom issues, maintenance of machinery, pumps leaking, deck machinery leaking and the rather broader ‘officer competence.’ Or as one delegate put it “I am not really concerned about stencils on deck. But the officers on deck really concern me!”

This led to calls for SIRE inspections to include detailed interviews with the Master and the chief engineer.

At last year’s Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference in London, CDI general manager Capt Howard Snaith revealed that his organisation had launched a ‘motivated reasons’ scheme to provide owners with an avenue to appeal an invoice they feel is “excessive”. When a formal application is made through the scheme, CDI has a legal basis to look into the fees charged and make an assessment. Capt Snaith told the conference that “since May 2014 we have done 5,200 inspections and received 25 claims for motivated reasons. Of those 25 claims, we have supported 18.”

‘Supporting a claim’ means that CDI can nominate a second inspector for the job. “That is in full compliance with competition guidelines because it is generating competition, and that usually works in actually providing an alternative to the ship operator at a better price,” he explained.

Fast forwarding to the margins of this year’s Intertanko event in Houston, Capt Snaith told Tanker Shipping & Trade that in 2017, for the first time, CDI was so concerned by an application for motivated reasons that the complaint was escalated to the executive board. The board unanimously concluded that the inspector had abused his position, and his accreditation was revoked.

“So, my message to the market is that you can come to us and tell us your issues. We do listen and we do act,” said Capt Snaith.

At the time of our meeting Capt Snaith said there had been three complaints against inspectors in 2017. The complaints were reviewed by the CDI accreditation committee, and two of the three were dismissed because the high number of observations recorded could be evidenced.

“He found out he couldn’t. He never told us about it, so he was suspended for six months”

The third complaint related to an inspector who missed a CDI inspection. “He had been nominated and accepted for a CDI inspection, and then a SIRE inspection came along so he went along and did that, thinking he could squeeze it in ahead of the CDI inspection,” explained Capt Snaith. “He found out he couldn’t. He never told us about it, so he was suspended for six months.”

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