An onboard inspection can only be successful if the tanker has been prepared for the inspection. For this reason, some companies perform pre-vetting inspections by internal resources prior to the vetting inspections by the oil majors. These inspections normally take place during discharge.

Most of the vetting inspectors are former seafarers with long experience from various types of tanker vessels. Most likely the first impression is formed already at the time the inspector arrives at the gangway and then continues all the way until the closing meeting have been completed. Inspectors will be looking for objective criteria by which to judge the tanker. Thus, the importance of the route from the ship side to the Master's office should not be underestimated. Remember that, as always, you do not get a second chance to make a first impression.

Make sure that each head of department has completed and signed off his own part of the vessel inspection questionnaire before arrival at port and that any deficiencies have been reported/corrected. This should be incorporated into the normal routine guidelines.

Although it is the Master's overall responsibility to prepare for an inspection, this is a teamwork involving all crew members.

Vetting Inspection Plan.

Operator of the ship schedules vetting inspection. Vessel receive details of inspection such as date of inspection, port of inspection, etc.

Inspection Prior to Boarding.

-Vetting inspector check the condition of external hull, superstructure, mooring lines laying, draft marks, overboard discharges, ship’s gangway, etc.

Pre-inspection Meeting (Open meeting).

  • Formal presentations of Auditor Inspector with Master and other senior officers;
  • Explain purpose of the present inspection and discuss the order of inspection with Master, Chief Officer & Chief Engineer;
  • Sequence of the inspection : Documentation check, Bridge inspection, outside accommodation inspection, lifeboat and rescue boat inspection, compressor room/motor room inspection, sighting from top or entering inside with one or two ballast tanks, rounds in forecastle deck, Cargo Control Room (CCR), Ship’s Hospital, Galley and Engine Room, followed by final meeting.

>Documentation Checks ( c/out with Master and C/O).

  • Trading certificates (Certificate of Registry, Safety Equipment, Safety Construction, Safety Radio, IOPP, etc);
  • Certificates of Test/Service: Life/Rescue boat and davit, Liferaft annuals, EEBD test, Portable and Fixed Fire extinguisher systems (Dry Powder & CO2 stations), Immersion suits, EPIRB, VDR, LRIT Test, Portable gas detector equipment;
  • PSC inspection reports;
  • Class records: Class attendance reports, ESP file;
  • LSA & FFA weekly & monthly checks;
  • Master’s Review of SMS and Safety meeting feedback;
  • Approved manuals- SMPEP, SEEMP, STS plan, Ballast & garbage management plans, Intact & Damage Stability booklet, P&A manual, LSA and FFA training manual, operations manual;
  • Type approval certificates: ECDIS, PMS approval certificates;
  • Crew certification, Work and rest hours;
  • Verify operator’s SMS against VIQ elements: Hot work, Alcohol policy, Smoking Policy, smoking areas, Enclosed space, PPE matrix, Lube oil analysis frequency, UKC policy, Tank inspection interval, NC close out policy, Emergency procedures;
  • Compliance checks: Alcohol policy compliance, Smoking policy, Permit to work system – Hot work, encloses space permits, working over side and aloft, Tank inspection records, Risk Assessments, PPE matrix, Non-conformity control, Safety meeting and drill records, Alcohol check records;
  • Cargo & Ballast tanks inspection records including void spaces;
  • Lifting gear register & Mooring ropes, Wires & sling certificates;
  • Non conformity & Incident reports;
  • Cargo record book, Garbage record books;
  • Ballast water management files & records;
  • PMS records, Pressure test record of cargo & Fuel Pipes;

Bridge Navigational Inspection  (c/out with 2/O).

  • Passage plan, chart and publication checks, navigation related records & checklists;
  • Navtex, T&P corrections;
  • Paper charts/ ECDIS for at least the whole of the last voyage;
  • Check the condition of the Radio station equipment, VHF, MF & HF;
  • Condition of SAT-C;
  • Request for Master Standing order and night orders;
  • Navigation procedures;
  • Review Bridge Posters;
  • Review Log books: Deck log, Compass error log, Radar ops log, GMDSS log);
  • PMS related to Navigation equipment & related spares, day signals etc.;
  • Emergency equipment on the bridge (LTA, EPIRB, para-rockets, MOBs, GMDSS radio & batteries);
  • Bridge wing and monkey island- antenna and lighting checks;
  • Switch ON lighting;
  • Cargo Tanks related panel. (Indication of Pressure, Temperature, Alarms);
  • IG panel (02 & pressure);
  • Fire fighting panel, Echo sounder, Course recorded marked-24hrs mode. AIS, VDR- save function, BNWAS test, GPS anchor alarm;
  • Navtex station, SAT C Nav warnings;
  • Night rounds system, Look out, Fire drill in log book.

Accommodation External Decks Inspection  (c/out with 3/O and C/O).

  • Bridge Wings & Monkey Island;
  • MOB Buoy condition;
  • Safety Signs for antenna’s;
  • Antenna ID & Earth connection;
  • Magnetic compass;
  • Check condition of Battery lockers;
  • All Deck emergency lighting;
  • Check funnel flaps test closing;
  • Emergency Generator test;
  • Starting of Lifeboat Motor after permission from terminal;
  • Life raft, ladders, IMO symbols;
  • Rescue boat;
  • Muster stations;
  • LSA/FFA Lockers & Fire man’s outfits;
  • Test Emergency generator after permission from terminal;
  • SCBA compressor room;
  • Air condition Room intake;
  • CO2 Room.

Aft Deck Inspection (c/out with C/O).

  • Check operation and condition of mooring equipment: winches, brake condition, ropes;
  • Check condition of all and vent heads.

Main/Forward Deck Inspection (c/out with C/O).

  • Rounds start with mooring, deck aft, then proceeding toward cargo main deck area;
  • Check condition of cargo pumps, cargo compressors, cargo condensers, cargo heater, etc.;
  • Check condition of level gauges, pressure & temperature gauges, piping, cargo tank PV Valves, lighting, ventilation, etc.;
  • Check condition of fixed (Seawater Spray & Dry Powder Stations) and portable fire fighting appliances (FFA);
  • Check condition of fire isolation valves;
  • Inert gas system (IGG) or Nitrogen system;
  • Manifold arrangement;
  • SMPEP gear;
  • Eyewash showers test;
  • Cargo related equipment: Manifold arrangement, Hose handling crane;
  • Inspect one or two ballast tank from top or inside, if permission from terminal available;
  • Fire line to be pressurized during inspection;
  • Check condition of the Forecastle space, Bow thruster space.

Cargo Control Room (CCR) Inspection  (c/out with C/O).

  • Check condition of the CCR equipment, pressure/temperature indicators, Pump indications, High Level Alarms, Cargo Tanks High Level Override switches, Cargo Tank Level Indications;
  • Check cargo plan, checklist, PMS, manuals, etc.;
  • Pre-cargo check list;
  • Other cargo and maintenance related documents, Port log;
  • Chief Officer Standing orders;
  • Pre-arrival test & Ship Shore Safety Checklist;
  • Check the condition of Portable Gas Monitoring Equipment;
  • Stability Computer;
  • Enclosed space records;
  • Piping plans;
  • MSDS.

Internal Accommodation Inspection  (c/out with C/O or OOW).

  • Check condition of Galley, portable and fixed fire extinguishing systems;
  • Smoke rooms, Mess rooms, SOLAS training manual, smoking notices etc.;
  • Refrigerated rooms doors, alarms;
  • Check condition of Laundry;
  • Check condition of Hospital and medicines;
  • Air condition room.

After-inspection meeting (Closing Meeting).

  • Discuss observations with Master, Chief Engineer and Chief Officer;
  • Conclude the inspection.

The results from a vetting inspection will give the oil major information needed to decide if the vessel is accepted for use. When the vetting inspector leaves the gangway, the vessel inspection is finalized. However, only than the screening process begins, and the owners reply to any comments or deficiencies raised play a very important part in this screening process.

Some examples of replies that do not live up this standard are e.g., "The deficiency has been rectified", "we have instructed the Master not to do it again", "the spare part has been ordered", etc.

In order to indicate that you have an effective system in place it is necessary to address the deficiency within the ISM system, for example by identifying the non-conformity, establishing the root cause and implementing an effective corrective action as well as necessary changes to existing procedures. The deficiency then becomes effectively closed out.

It is not sufficient to say that the deficiency has been fixed, you need to explain that the problem that caused the deficiency is also fixed.



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