Nautical inspectors from seven countries attended a three-day seminar with the theme “Perspectives” at International Registries Inc.’s (IRI’s) Fort Lauderdale, Florida office on 18-20 June. The seminar provided technical training, operations updates, regional and global fleet operation trends, and an opportunity to provide direct information and feedback between the teams. Team members from Baltimore, Busan, Fort Lauderdale, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Long Beach, Mumbai, New York, Piraeus, Reston, and Roosendaal presented on operational training topics, including: the critical items checklist (to promote compliance and avoid unnecessary detentions and delays); inspection report processing; International Safety Management (ISM) Code compliance; fleet operations training updates; oversight and coordination with Recognized Organizations (ROs); and how to provide the best value to Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) owners and operators.
Seminars like this one, which provide a platform for inspectors to share their experiences, provide feedback, and discuss key areas of success and improvement, enhance the client experience and further the focus on global quality, compliance, and value. For example, several real-life detention cases were discussed with particular attention on two recent cases in the United States (US). Both cases revealed an increased focus by the US Coast Guard (USCG) on RO oversight and effective implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMSs). The striking similarities among these most recent detentions consists of a single safety-related deficiency and a fresh RO endorsement on the Safety Equipment Certificate. In one case, 10 of the vessel’s 31 immersion suits were found to have malfunctioning zippers and detached seams. The other USCG detention was based on a faulty wire rope (broken strands) on the lifeboat falls. In both cases the vessel’s checklists and logs had documented satisfactory self-inspection results and both vessels had very recent endorsements of the Safety Equipment Certificate by the RO. In these cases, the documentation was identified by port State control (PSC) as objective evidence of a failed SMS and resulted in an International Maritime Organization reportable detention.
While the investigations continue for both cases, the seminar focused on lessons learned that can be immediately applied. The teams recognized that RO oversight will continue to be a focus during USCG PSC examinations and even vessels in “excellent condition” could be detained with as few as one or two deficiencies. Also underscored was the importance of communicating to operators the reporting of all inoperative, damaged, or malfunctioning equipment in accordance with the vessel’s SMS and that an eNOA, which lists the equipment, is imperative. In addition, two USCG guest speakers addressed the group providing insight on compliance and updates on the USCG’s PSC program.
The value of being able to share recent real-life cases, discuss the situations in detail, and walk away with tangible action items and immediate lessons learned is immeasurable for a team as geographically diverse as IRI’s.
Over 55 full-time nautical inspectors are employed in Asia, Europe, and the Americas and are supplemented by over 430 contracted inspectors worldwide to conduct flag State inspections, including mandatory classification and statutory survey and certification requirements, ISM Code compliance, International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code assessments, Initial and Annual Safety Inspections, and special Inspections. The work of these nautical inspectors provides direct contact between vessel operators and the RMI Registry, providing an opportunity to address issues before they become deficiencies, provide crew training and familiarization, and support the culture of compliance and high-quality that are hallmarks of the RMI Registry.