The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has been developing a repository (database) for reporting vessel incidents, which was, on Monday 14 July, inaugurated. To enable ease of access and efficient flow of information, this repository has been linked with the Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) database.
Existing practices require that when a vessel has an incident, owners/operators advise the oil companies and any potential charterers of the details of such incidents and details of all follow-up investigations, as well as any lessons that may have been learnt.
Owners and operators frequently will send the reports to only a select group of companies and will then rely on the company’s assessment of each report by the charterer in completing their individual vetting processes. To work efficiently, however, this process requires the company to review and assess each report as and when they are received.
INTERTANKO Members have reported that often this process does not work as intended because either companies (oil companies and charterers) do not have the report, or cannot find it within their systems, or is on an individual’s computer. This results in unreasonable delays in the screening/vetting process and hinders the ships employment. Furthermore, it is recognised that the existing practice of reporting each incident separately to all or some of the oil companies and/or charterers generates an excessive administration and communications burden on the individual or individuals in the owners/operators.
These issues were raised by INTERTANKO and following discussions and liaison with OCIMF, the proposal of a database which would enable the upload of these reports was developed.
This database has been developed, initially, to be a simple repository of reports and documents on incidents with the aim of enhancing transparency and efficiency both, in communications and the vetting process. The SIRE interface shows for each vessel, the total incidents for that vessel as well as the incidents for the vessel under the current and previous operators as well as providing the total number of incidents for the operator’s fleet.
The Uploading and Structure of Reports
As OCIMF cannot guarantee or verify each incident or report, the uploading of reports to the database is voluntary on behalf of the shipowner. It is, however, expected that owners/operators will upload reports in the same manner as they report incidents under the existing practice and that uploading reports will not, at this stage, preclude the individual reporting requirements of the oil companies and charterers.
When reporting incidents, the database provides the operator, in the form of a “drop-down” menu, with a selection of types of incidents, OCIMF do not provide a definition of what is a reportable “incident”. This is because the repository has been developed along the obligations of reporting incidents under current practices of individual reporting.
Control of Data
This is a secure database on the existing SIRE platform (accessed by logging into the SIRE system using the existing log-in criteria) and its use requires all operators that will be uploading reports as well as for those entities that may be downloading reports acknowledge and sign up to terms and conditions each time a report is uploaded or accessed.
For operators, this control and signing of Terms and Conditions ensures that they are aware of the key elements of the working of the database. For those that will access and download the reports will have to acknowledge and agree to the Terms and Conditions of use which ensures the confidentiality and intent of the use of the reports.
The operator will, in turn, be alerted by the system each time a report is accessed providing him with relevant details.
Validity of uploaded reports
Each report will stay on the database for a period of three years after which it will be permanently deleted.
The database/repository will reduce the administrative burdens of making multiple individual reports on the same incident to different oil companies and charterers. In addition, it is envisaged that this will also enhance transparency and improve the vetting/clearance process by eliminating delays that are inherent in the existing system of reporting.
Furthermore, it will improve the dissemination of experience and information from “lessons learnt”.