Tanker Vetting F.A.Q Dispassionate objectivity is itself a passion, for the real and for the truth.(A. Maslow)

As I see it vetting process nowadays has lost a portion of those bright objectives with which it was originally set up. The Erika and the Prestige disasters as well as later financial disturbances are main contributing factors to this transformation (for legal aspects of majors’ approvals read here).

Literally speaking, today no oil major is giving any approval to the inspected vessel fearing of any liability and associated bad publicity in case of hypothetical disastrous incident. The Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE), as OCIMF web page says, purported to specifically address concerns about sub-standard shipping, thus all non-sub-standard shipping should theoretically thrive from this initiative. Again theoretically, any vessel can be involved in disastrous incident, such incident as Esso Brussels’s for example. It follows that any vessel or "shipping" can fall into the category of sub-standard and if, well before introduction of SIRE, there was a joke that USCG could detain even newly built vessel, it is a common reality nowadays that a new tanker can fail major’s inspection. Complexity of modern vetting process or screening does not add any certainty to the question whether one is or is not within "sub-standard" shipping. Thus the same one tanker inspected twice within 2 months period may end with 3 observations after one inspection and with 11 after the second.

For whatever reasons the above situation exists, I truly think it points out to rather prevailing subjective component or at the very least to significant lack of objectiveness. "I put in my report what I like", as one inspector recently told me, is to the certain degree a governing rule of vetting process nowadays. So, that is a short background to the issue at hands and if someone has something to add here I will be very glad to publish any opinion. So far as vetting inspection concerns to those who are on board and those who are supporting them from the manning offices, we are lucky to have VIQ (Vessel Inspection Questionnaires for Oil Tankers) of 159 pages as per latest version published on OCIMF web site. Although overwhelming majority of questions have detailed and unambiguously written notes, there is no any objective test which inspectors are forced to apply when combining their observations, therefore there is no or very little protection against subjectivity of inspector.

I wish to stress that there is no intention to criticize either inspectors or ships’ staff, but I hope that open discussion will help to work out general view on certain arguable issues, which may be heard, debated and used openly. Of course no ship’s/company’s/inspector’s name will be disclosed.


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4.1.1 The inspector must introduce himself or herself to the Master or the Master’s authorised deputy, explain the scope of the inspection and discuss the preferred order in which it will be carried out, prior to commencement of the inspection. Inspectors should co-operate fully to conduct the inspection in the order that will cause the least disruption to the vessel’s operations. The inspector must be accompanied by a member of the ship’s staff at all times during the course of the inspection.
4.1.4 Any Observations that the inspector intends to record in the VIQ must be pointed out and discussed "on site" at the time with the member of the ship’s staff assigned to accompany the inspector. This ensures that the nature of the Observations are fully understood and can also avoid extended discussion at the end of the inspection
4.1.5. … the inspector must discuss the inspection findings with the Master or the Master’s authorised deputy before leaving the vessel. Other than to prepare these observations, however, the inspector must not remain on the vessel to complete the inspection report.
Vessel Inspection Questionnaires (VIQ 5), 2012 edition

Observation must be pointed out "on site" and must be discussed…

As it often happens, inspector during the course of inspection makes passing observations and remarks in his pocketbook without much discussion on site as VIQ requires and without clear identification of his future observation. Then during final part of his inspection inspector announces that he will combine his observations in electronic form and then will give it to ship’s command for comments and discussion.
From my personal experience it usually ends in very short exchange of opinions because inspector for various reasons needs to depart soonest possible.
Once I’ve been patiently waiting inspector’s report almost for one hour, all observations were promised to be discussed afterwards, but as soon as report was produced he told me that he is not going to change anything whatever my opinion is and actually he is not to wait even for my remarks or for my signature on the report but desire to depart immediately because he declared inspection finished. I think it will do no harm to stress to inspector during pre-inspection conference that as VIQ provides he must discuss his intended observation discussed "on site" at the time and he also must discuss his findings before leaving the vessel.


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Although author encourages visitors to leave their comments using this form, but should you be unable or unwilling to use it for any reason you can mail to info@lawandsea.net to contact with him.


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Although author encourages visitors to leave their comments using this form, but should you be unable or unwilling to use it for any reason you can mail to info@lawandsea.net to contact with him.


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Although author encourages visitors to leave their comments using this form, but should you be unable or unwilling to use it for any reason you can mail to info@lawandsea.net to contact with him.


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Although author encourages visitors to leave their comments using this form, but should you be unable or unwilling to use it for any reason you can mail to info@lawandsea.net to contact with him.

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Although author encourages visitors to leave their comments using this form, but should you be unable or unwilling to use it for any reason you can mail to info@lawandsea.net to contact with him.

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