The international institutions that have a bearing on the international maritime transportation, maritime affairs in general or/and have an association with shipping but not limited to are as below:
- International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
- International Labour Organisation (ILQ)
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
- International Shipping Federation (ISF)
- International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
- The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO)
- Society of International Gas Tankers and Terminals Operators (SIGTTO)
- Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF)
Read in-depth about IMO, its history, structure, Conventions and its working here.
International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Only tripartite U.N. agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
Origins and History
The ILO was created in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
The Constitution was drafted in January and April 1919, by the Labor Commission set up by the Peace Conference, which initially met in Paris and after that in Versailles. The Commission, led by Samuel Gompers, the leader of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in the United States, was made out of representatives from nine nations: Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It brought about a tripartite organisation, the just a single of its kind uniting delegates of governments, workers, and specialists in its official bodies.
The Constitution contained tried by International Association for Labor Legislation, was established in Basel in 1901. The support for a worldwide association managing work issues was started in the nineteenth century, drove by two industrialists, Robert Owen (1771-1853) of Wales and Daniel Legrand (1783-1859) of France.
The ILO Constitution’s Preamble states:
- Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice;
- And whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice hardship and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled; and an improvement of those conditions is urgently required;
- Whereas also the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries.
The Great Depression with its resulting massive unemployment soon made it realize that handling labour issues also requires international cooperation, the United States became a Member of the ILO in 1934 although it continued to stay out of the League of Nations.
After the Second World War, in 1946, the ILO became a specialized agency of the newly formed United Nations. And, in 1948, still, during the period of Ireland’s Edward Phelan leadership, the International Labour Conference adopted Convention No. 87 on freedom of association and the right to organize.
In May 2012 Guy Ryder (UK) was elected as the tenth Director-General of the ILO. He was re-elected to his second five-year in November 2016. The term will start on 1 October 2017.
ILO for Shipping
An important maritime labour instrument is the Merchant Shipping Convention C-147 concerning Minimum Standards in Merchant Ships (Entry into force: 28 Nov 1981).
Adoption: Geneva, 62nd ILC session (29 Oct 1976) – Status: Up-to-date instrument (Technical Convention). Next period during which the Convention may be denounced: 28 Nov 2021 – 28 Nov 2022.
- The main focus of ILO maritime programme concerns the promotion of the maritime labour standards in co-operation with IMO. The ILO work concerning seafarers has also resulted in the adoption of codes of practice, guidelines, and reports, which address seafarers’ issues.
- The ILO maritime programme aims to enhance the social and economic conditions in the Maritime industry and particularly for Seafarers.
- The ILO has also adopted a number of standards which specifically concern the social and labour conditions of Port workers.
One of the ILO’s major contributions to working practices in the shipping industry was approved in 2006, when 178 members adopted the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. The MLC, 2006, entered into force on 20 August 2013. This convention sets minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship and contains provisions on conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection. The Convention consolidated nearly all earlier ILO standards for seafarers into a single Convention.
The other key ILO standard for seafarers is the Seafarers Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003 (No. 185), which provides new seafarers identity document that enhances maritime security while facilitating shore leave and the professional movement of seafarers. The main focus of ILO’s maritime programme is the promotion of these standards using all of the ILO’s means of action and through the publication of codes of practice, guidelines, and reports addressing seafarers labour issues. The Subcommittee on Wages of Seafarers of the Joint Maritime Commission periodically meets to updating of the recommended minimum monthly basic pay or wage figure for able seafarers, as provided for in the MLC, 2006. The Special Tripartite Committee of the MLC, 2006, among other things, considers amendments to the Convention and keeps it under continuous review.
Inland waterways play an important role in the transport of goods and persons in many parts of the world. Inland navigation personnel are faced with unique living and working conditions which require special consideration by the ILO. The aim of ILO activities in this sector is to achieve decent work for all inland navigation personnel.
Fishing is one of the most challenging and hazardous occupations ILO is working to ensure decent work for all fishers. The ILO’s international labour standard concerned specifically with work on board fishing vessels is the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188). This Convention demonstrates the renewed commitment by the ILO to ensure decent work in fishing.
As the transport sector has become increasingly competitive and global, many developments have taken place in the organisation of work in ports which have affected labour and social conditions in the industry. The ILO has a major role in the collective efforts that aim at providing socially responsible solutions to the challenges faced by the port sector.
World Health Organisation (WHO)
History of WHO
When diplomats met to form the United Nations in 1945, one of the things they discussed was setting up a global health organization. WHO’s Constitution came into force on 7 April 1948 – a date we now celebrate every year as World Health Day.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent on the fullest co-operation of individuals and States. The achievement of any State in the promotion and protection of health is of value to all. Unequal development in different countries in the promotion of health and control of diseases, especially communicable disease, is a common danger.Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.
International Health Regulations
In response to the exponential increase in international travel, trade and emergence and reemergence of international disease threats and other health risks, 196 countries across the globe have agreed to implement the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR). This binding instrument of international law entered into force on 15 June 2007.
The stated purpose and scope of the IHR are “to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.” Because the IHR are not limited to specific diseases but are applicable to health risks, irrespective of their origin or source, they will follow the evolution of diseases and the factors affecting their emergence and transmission. The IHR also require States to strengthen core surveillance and response capacities at the primary, intermediate and national level, as well as at designated international ports, airports and ground crossings. They further introduce a series of health documents, including ship sanitation certificates and an international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis for travelers.
To aid the maritime industry and enhance health issues, below guides are provided onboard ships:
Guide to Ship Sanitation
The primary aim of Guide to ship sanitation is to present the public health significance of ships in terms of disease and to highlight the importance of applying appropriate control measures. The guide is intended to be used as a basis for the development of national approaches to controlling the hazards that may be encountered on ships, as well as providing a framework for policy-making and local decision-making. The guide may also be used as reference material for regulators, ship operators, and shipbuilders, as well as a checklist for understanding and assessing the potential health impacts of projects involving the design of ships.
The Guide was first published in 1967 and was reprinted with minor amendments in 1987. The construction, design and size of ships have changed dramatically since the 1960s and the greatly increased level of transport by ships poses new hazards (e.g. Legionnaires’ disease) that were not foreseen when the 1967 Guide was published. Therefore, WHO has now UPDATED the Guide in close collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization ( I 1MO). The new guide was released in March 2008. The recommendations on the revisions to the guide include:
- Apply to all ships including passenger ships, general cargo vessels, fishing vessels, naval vessels, and tankers;
- Cover preventive environmental health management including water supply at port, water production, treatment and distribution on ship, swimming and spa pools, waste disposal, food safety and vermin and vector control; and
- Contain concluding chapters on disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, and routine inspection and audit.
International Medical Guide for Ships
Provides complete information and advice for non-medical seafarers faced with injury or disease on board ship. This contains fully updated recommendations aimed to promote and protect the health of seafarers and is consistent with the latest revisions of both the World Health Organization (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines and the International Health Regulations. The International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 stipulates that all ships shall carry a medicine chest, medical equipment, and a medical guide. The International Medical Guide for Ships supports the main principle of that Convention:
to ensure that seafarers are given health protection and medical care as comparable as possible to that which is generally available to workers ashore.
Since its first publication in 1967, the International Medical Guide for Ships has been a standard reference for medical care on board ships. The second edition, written in 1988, was translated into more than 30 languages, and has been used on tens of thousands of ships.By carrying this guide on board and following its instructions, countries can both fulfil their obligations under the terms of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, and ensure the best possible health care for their seafaring population.
New features include chapters dealing with pregnancy and women’s medical problems, advice on the medical care of castaways and rescued persons, guidance in obtaining external assistance in case of serious health problems at sea, and an alert to the diseases commonly found in fishermen. For easy reference, some 60 diseases and medical problems, ranging from abdominal pain to stroke and paralysis, have been selected and arranged in alphabetical order in a single chapter. The new edition also features medical advice for ships carrying toxic chemicals, including the first-aid treatment of poisoning, and a completely updated list of medicines and surgical supplies recommended for the ships medicine chest.
International Shipping Federation (ISF)
The International Shipping Federation (ISF) was founded in 1909 and was made up of representatives from the shipowners’ associations of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Initially, the International Organisation was under the control of a General Council, made up of six delegates from the United Kingdom, and two each from the other member countries. The ISF met once a year, its main aim being to consider all questions affecting the interests of the shipping and other connected trades – although the concentration was at first on labour issues and the avoidance of strikes. Whilst making some progress in this area, the ISF was suspended for the duration of the first world war, before reforming again in 1919.
By 1950, membership of the ISF had grown to include sixteen countries. After the merger in 1975 of the Shipping Federation and the Chamber of Shipping, the ISF continued to discuss issues of international importance to the shipping industry, as part of the newly formed General Council of British Shipping.
Reference: L. H. Powell ‘The Shipping Federation: A History of the First Sixty Years, 1890-1950’ (London 1950).
ISF is that the solely broad primarily based international employer’s organization dedicated to maritime workforce problems, providing recommendation and steerage to members either directly or via its wide vary of contacts worldwide.
ISF represents the employer’s voice on industrial relations problems, proactively explaining and justifying employers activities to the media. To others, ISF is an authority on the STCW Convention and assists with the recommendation on its elaborate technical needs. The ISF Secretariat additionally supports alternative international organizations, which includes International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and also the International Maritime Employers Committee (IMEC).
Externally, ISF has consultatory standing with the International Labour Organization (ILO), where it coordinates the ship-owner position in the maritime conferences, and with the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Through ILO, ISF also attends the conferences of Paris Memorandum, understanding on Port State control inspections within the MOU region.
ISF is additionally a vigorous member of the International Committee on Seafarers Welfare (ICSW) and representatives of maritime unions, together with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). ISF, with national ship-owner association members from Japanese and Western Europe, the Indian Sub-Continent, the Asia/Pacific Region, the center East and North, Central and South America, provides a singular forum for employers to coordinate effectively and influence events on maritime human resources problems.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
- ICS was established in 1921.
- ICS is the principal international trade association for shipowners and operators.
- ICS is concerned with all technical, legal, employment affairs and trade policy issues that impact on international ship operations.
- ICS membership comprises the world’s national shipowners’ associations, representing all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world merchant fleet.
- ICS represents shipowners with the various intergovernmental bodies that regulate shipping, especially the UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO), where ICS was the first shipping industry association to be granted consultative status in 1961.
- ICS’s overriding concern is the maintenance of a global regulatory framework for international shipping. A truly global industry requires global rules.
The aim of ICS is to act as an advocate for the industry on issues of maritime affairs, shipping policy and technical matters, including ship construction, operation, safety and management, and to develop best practice in the industry.
ICS is actively engaged with the following intergovernmental bodies that impact on shipping:
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- United Nations Division for Oceans Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS)
- United Nations Conference on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Forum (APEC)
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- World Customs Organization (WCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- ENCOURAGE high standards of operation and the provision of high quality and efficient shipping services.
- STRIVE for a regulatory environment which embraces safe shipping operations, protection of the environment, maintenance of open markets and fair competition as well as adherence to internationally adopted standards and procedures.
- SUPPORT such regulation of shipping at an international level and oppose unilateral and regional action by governments.
- PRESS for recognition of the commercial requirements of shipping and of the need for operators who meet the required standards to secure a proper commercial return.
- REMAIN COMMITTED to the promotion and updating of industry guidance on best-operating practices.
- COOPERATE with other organisations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, in the pursuit of these objectives.
- PROMOTE the industry’s profile as a safe, clean, energy-efficient, comprehensively regulated and responsible facilitator of global trade.
- ANTICIPATE whenever possible and respond whenever appropriate to policies and actions which conflict with the above.
Best Practice and Publications ICS (and ISF) publications on best practices and regulatory compliance are an essential complement to international regulations and are required reading by companies and seafarers. Important examples include:
- ICS Bridge Procedures Guide
- ICS/ISF Guidelines on the Application of the ISM Code
- ISF Guidelines on the Application of the ILO MLC
- ICS Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations
- ISF On Board Training Record Books
- ICS/OCIMF International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT)
- ICS Tanker Safety Guide (Chemicals)
- ICS Tanker Safety Guide (Gas)
The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO)
BIMCO – which was founded under the title of “The Baltic and White Sea Conference” in Copenhagen in 1905 was the first organisation to see the benefit in joining forces with other countries to secure better deals and standard agreements in shipping.
As the organisation grew and became more international it was renamed -The Baltic and International Maritime Council –and at present day – simply BIMCO.
The early days
The sailing ship, previously the carrier for cargoes, was being replaced by the faster and more cost effective steamship in the early 20th century. More and more steamship owners were met with increasing competition with freight rates and something needed to happen to stop a number of owners going out of business.
Thomas Cairns, of Cairns, Noble & Co from Newcastle Upon Tyne and John Hansen of CK Hansen, Copenhagen realised that owners working together – despite being in competition – would be the answer. As the new season was approaching for the timber trade, Cairns sent Hansen a telegram in January 1905 asking him whether owners in the Baltic states might want to agree on timber trade rates.
The result was a gathering on 16-18 February 1905 in Copenhagen of shipowners from across Scandinavia, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Finland, France, and Latvia. A minimum freight rate was set for the coming year and agreed by all the delegates.
In addition to agreeing to a firm rate for freight at the gathering, a number of delegates requested establishing uniform charter party terms to safeguard profit for the owners. The fixed freight rate pricing would never happen but the standardisation of charter parties and other shipping documents would go on to benefit the maritime industry for over the next 100 years and is still going strong today.
BIMCO is now the world’s largest international shipping association, with more than 2,200 members globally. We provide a wide range of services to our global membership – which includes shipowners, operators, managers, brokers and agents.
BIMCO is also recognised worldwide for the clarity, consistency, and certainty of its standard maritime contracts.
Its aim is to produce flexible commercial agreements that are fair to both parties. BIMCO’s world recognised contracts are widely used and this familiarity provides greater certainty of the likely commercial outcome – helping members manage contractual risk.
*Information courtesy of David Souden from his book, – “All in the same boat” The story of BIMCO.
BIMCO operates a number of committees that make decisions about the future of BIMCO and direction of its business.
The Executive Committee meets three times a year and is responsible for making decisions about the overall business and direction of BIMCO under the control and supervision of the Board of Directors (BOD).
The chair is always the current President of BIMCO and only owner member representatives can serve on the committee. Chairs from the various BIMCO committees – Marine, Documentary, and Security- all serve on the committee.
All documents from the committee, including the minutes, are circulated to the BOD for approval.
The Documentary Committee is the largest and oldest of all the BIMCO committees. Over 60 people attend on a twice-yearly basis and they come from across the shipping industry, including shipowners, ship operators, representatives from P&I clubs and national shipowner and shipbroker associations.
The committee also has a number of observers from the International Group of P&I Clubs, the International Chamber of Shipping, INTERTANKO, FONASBA and the Maritime Law Association of the US.
The committee approves all contracts and clauses and is responsible for the overall quality of documents developed by BIMCO. Drafts from ongoing projects are reviewed at least twice by the committee before adoption. Committee members also put forward suggestions for new contracts and clauses and guide BIMCO to which projects should take priority.
BIMCO’s documentary strategy is reviewed at each meeting and the committee further decides which projects BIMCO should work on going forward. Once new contracts and clauses have been published, the committee members also take an active part in their promotion.
The Marine Committee meets twice a year to discuss and review marine, operational and technical related issues, such as cyber security or ballast water management. The topics discussed are all based on the strategy and policy defined and established by the Executive Committee.
The committee has up to 15 owner member representatives appointed from across the shipping industry, based on their qualifications and work experience in the maritime sector. The committee also invites industry experts to attend specific meetings when necessary.
The committee’s aim is to represent the BIMCO membership in terms of company size and ship types, as well as geographical location.
The chairperson is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors (BOD) and reports directly to the Executive Committee on issues from the committee. The committee endorses position papers sent to the BOD for approval and often acts as experts in response to the BOD on some of their key issues.
The BIMCO Security Committee is made of up representatives from a broad range of shipping areas and this allows a wide range of issues to be examined and discussed at the twice yearly meetings.
One of the main functions of the committee is to examine ongoing work within the BIMCO Security department. The deep discussion is encouraged and decisions are made on future work within specific areas – which include, piracy, smuggling, migrants, stowaways and cyber security.
In addition to the regular committee members from the maritime industry, there are also a number of subject matter experts who have a great depth of knowledge. These individuals are invited to add valued comments whenever necessary.
The chair of the committee is an elected representative who is often not a security expert but has a broad knowledge of the maritime industry and an able mediator.
Minutes from the meetings are distributed on completion and this document creates a historical recording of all decisions made, by whom and the actions required to be taken.
BIMCO’s CEO is always invited to update the whole committee on areas within BIMCO, other than security. This ensures that committee members are aware of all issues affecting BIMCO, fellow members and the industry as a whole.
Shipping KPI Steering Group & Expert Group
The BIMCO Shipping KPI System is a global shipping industry tool for defining, measuring and reporting information on operational performance and is managed by the Shipping KPI Steering Group. The Steering Group is responsible for the definition of and adherence to the KPI vision and mission as well as the business case and reports directly to the Executive Committee.
The steering group meets at least once a year but in the initial phase of updating the BIMCO Shipping KPI standard and system, the group anticipates meeting twice a year!
The steering group’s terms of reference are:
- develop and maintain the BIMCO Shipping KPI business case
- prepare and deliver the Shipping KPI System vision
- recommendations from KPI expert group on proposed changes to the KPI standard and system to be considered for approval and adoption
- submit status reports to the BIMCO executive committee appoint members to the KPI expert group.
The Expert Group ensures that the Shipping KPI System is continuously developed to fulfill both current and future needs of registered users and reports directly to the steering group.
Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO)
The Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) was formed as an international organisation through which all industry participants might share experiences, address common problems and derive agreed criteria for best practices and acceptable standards.
The purpose of the Society is to promote shipping and terminal operations for liquefied gasses which are safe, environmentally responsible and reliable. To fulfill this mission it will:
- Proactively develop best operating practices and guideline
- Sustain a learning environment by sharing lessons learned
- Promote training and development of all within the industry
- Foster mutually beneficial relationships with regulatory authorities and other stakeholders
- Conduct its business with professionalism and integrity
SIGTTO was incorporated as a non-profit making company, registered in Bermuda, in October 1979. Formed originally with thirteen members, the Society has continued to grow and now has more than 170 full and associate members. Collectively, SIGTTO’s membership represents nearly all the world’s LNG business, and more than half the global LPG business.
Granted observer status at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 1982, the Society is now acknowledged as the authoritative voice of the liquefied gas shipping and terminals industries. This position rests on its reputation for impartiality and integrity in addressing operational and safety matters.
The Society is the international body established for the exchange of technical information and experience, between members of the industry, to enhance the safety and operational reliability of gas tankers and terminals.
To this end, the Society publishes studies and produces information papers and works of reference, for the guidance of industry members. It maintains working relationships with other industry bodies, governmental and intergovernmental agencies, including the International Maritime Organisation, to better promote the safety and integrity of gas transportation and storage schemes.
Conduct of the Society’s business is controlled by a Board of Directors drawn from all sectors of the industry. The Society’s activities and its administration are managed at its London Liaison Office headed by the General Manager.
Apart from the Board, there are two standing and active groups through which individual Members may directly participate in the Society’s affairs. These are the General Purposes Committee (GPC) and the Panel Meeting.
The General Purposes Committee (GPC) is the Society’s technical directorate and is comprised of 30 senior operational executives of member companies representing a balance of LNG, LPG gas tanker, and terminal experience. The GPC Chairman reports to the Board and the committee’s main tasks are the initiation and supervision of project activities.
The GPC meets at six monthly intervals, usually in conjunction with the Panel Meetings. Working Groups are established, as the need arises, by the GPC to conduct specific projects and are comprised of experts in this specific field.
The Panel Meeting is open to all Members and has no restriction on attendance. Meetings are usually held at six monthly intervals and comprise of presentations from members, manufacturers, and the Society’s Secretariat that is of specific interest to the liquefied gas industry.
A network of Regional Forums has been developed to further improve liaison with members. These forums aim to improve direct contact with members and make the decision-making organs of the Society more accessible.
Membership benefits of SIGTTO are substantial. Much of SIGTTO’s work is publicly available but the most important part is not.
Members benefit through:
- Access to information that is exclusive to members, such as casualty and industry statistics.
- Access to the Technical Advisers in the London Liaison Office who can give advice and obtain advice, on behalf of a member, from within the Society.
- Access to the comprehensive technical library maintained in the London Office.
- Submitting proposals for projects and studies to the General Purposes Committee.
- Participating in discussion forums with other members each year on topics of particular and mutual interest.
- On becoming a member a copy of all SIGTTO publications, free of charge.
- Regular updates on matters affecting the industry such as legislation, either new or pending, technical or operational developments.
- Free access to the LNG Web Info portal for updated LNG information as required to conduct compatibility studies. This information is restricted to members of SIGTTO and GIIGNL only.
Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF)
OCIMF was formed in April 1970 in response to the growing public concern about marine pollution, particularly by oil, after the Torrey Canyon incident in 1967.
In the early 1970s, a variety of anti-pollution initiatives were starting to emerge nationally, regionally and internationally, but with little coordination.
Through OCIMF, the oil industry was able to play a stronger, coordinating role in response to these initiatives, making its professional expertise widely available through cooperation with governments and intergovernmental bodies.
OCIMF was granted consultative status at the IMO in 1971 and continues to present oil industry views at IMO meetings. Since then, its role has broadened to take account the changing maritime activities of its membership.
Its remit now covers tankers, barges, offshore support vessels and terminals and its advice extends to issues like shipping in ice and large-scale piracy, which rarely troubled the oil industry when OCIMF was first created in the 1970s.
The current membership of OCIMF comprises 109 companies worldwide as of 2017.
OCIMF is widely recognised as the voice of the oil industry providing expertise in the safe and environmentally responsible transport and handling of hydrocarbons in ships and terminals and setting standards for continuous improvement. Membership is extensive and includes every oil major in the world along with the majority of National Oil Companies.
Not only has it contributed to a substantial quantity of regulation at the IMO aimed at improving the safety of tankers and protecting the environment, but it has introduced important new guidance on pressing current issues such as piracy and Arctic shipping. With the process of introducing new Internationally-accepted regulation necessarily slow as it crosses many individual countries and jurisdictions, OCIMF is in the unique position of being able to leverage the expertise of its membership to press ahead with much-needed guidance on important industry issues. This provides the means to improve practices in the membership and in the wider industry and serves as a valuable reference for developing the regulation.
In addition to its extensive publications library, OCIMF has a rich portfolio of tools including its Ship Inspection Report (SIRE) programme and Tanker Management and Self Assessment tool (TMSA), both of which have gained worldwide recognition and acceptance. It continues to develop new tools, with OVID the latest to be launched in January 2010, and a new Terminals inspection tool in development.
- Identify and seek to resolve safety, security and environmental issues affecting the industry through engagement with OCIMF members and external stakeholders.
- Develop and publish guidance, recommendations, and best practice by harnessing the skills and experience of OCIMF members and the wider industry.
- Provide tools and facilitate exchange of information, to promote continuous improvement in safe and environmentally sustainable operations
- Contribute to the development and encourage the ratification and implementation of international conventions and regulations.
- Influence industry adoption of OCIMF guidance, recommendations, and best practice.
Identify critical safety and environmental issues facing the oil tanker and terminal industry, and develop and publish recommended criteria that will serve as benchmarks for the industry.
In conjunction with the IMO and other regulatory bodies, both regional and national, support the development of international conventions and regulations that enhance the safe construction and operation of oil tankers and terminals; support the global implementation and enforcement of such international conventions and regulations; and encourage industry-wide acceptance of established safety and environmental guidelines and recommendations.
OCIMF’s committee structure comprises the Executive Committee at its head and four senior standing committees with the power to establish sub-committees or forums as necessary.
Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE)
One of the most significant safety initiatives introduced by OCIMF is the Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE). This programme was originally launched in 1993 to specifically address concerns about sub-standard shipping.
The SIRE system is a very large database of up-to-date information about tankers and barges. Essentially, SIRE has focused tanker industry awareness on the importance of meeting satisfactory tanker quality and ship safety standards.
1993: SIRE introduced
1997: Uniform Inspection report introduced
2000: SIRE Inspector Training and Accreditation Programme introduced
2004: SIRE extended to barges and small vessels
2009: Compliance Manager role created
Since its introduction, the SIRE Programme has received industry-wide acceptance and participation by both OCIMF Members, Programme recipients and by ship Operators. The expansion of Barges and small vessels into SIRE was inaugurated in late 2004.
For inspection purposes, the vessels covered by SIRE are grouped into three categories:
Categories 1 and 2 depending on tonnage
- Oil tankers
- Chemicals tankers
- LPG carriers
- LNG carriers
- Combination carriers
- Offshore barges
- Inland barges (manned and unmanned)
- Integrated barges
Since its introduction, more than 180,000 inspection reports have been submitted to SIRE.
Currently, there are over 22,500 reports on over 8000 vessels for inspections that have been conducted in the last 12 months. On average Programme, Recipients access the SIRE database at a rate of more than 8000 reports per month.
The SIRE programme requires a uniform inspection protocol that is predicated by the following:
- Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (VIQ)
- Barge Inspection Questionnaire (BIQ)
Uniform SIRE Inspection Report:
- Vessel Particulars Questionnaire(VPO)
- Barge ParticularsQuestionnaire (BPQ)
There is an electronic access to the SIRE system, both dial-up and via the Internet.
These features have been established to make the program more uniform and user-friendly and to provide a level of transparency unique in the marine transportation industry.
SIRE has established itself as a major source of technical and operational information to prospective charterers and other programme users. Its increasing use corresponds with oil industry efforts to better ascertain whether vessels are well managed and maintained.
Inspection reports are maintained on the index for a period of 12 months from the date of receipt and are maintained on the database for 2 years. SIRE access is available, at a nominal cost, to OCIMF members, bulk oil terminal operators, port authorities, canal authorities, oil, power, industrial or oil trader companies which charter tankers/barges as a normal part of their business. It is also available free of charge, to Governmental bodies, which supervise safety and/or pollution prevention in respect of oil tankers/barges (e.g. port state control authorities, MOU, etc).
But how does it work?
OCIMF member companies commission vessel inspections and appoint accredited SIRE inspectors. Before carrying out an onboard inspection, the inspector receives the vessel particulars and the appropriate Vessel or Barge Inspection Questionnaires from the SIRE database. The inspector looks at the full range of onboard ship management activities from cargo handling processes to the vessel’s safety management and pollution prevention measures. The completed report is uploaded to the SIRE database. Before the report is made available on the SIRE database the vessel operator is given the opportunity to respond to any observations recorded by the inspector.
Tanker Management and Self Assessment (TMSA)
The Tanker Management and Self Assessment (TMSA) programme provide companies with a means to improve and measure their own safety management systems.
The programme encourages companies to assess their safety management systems (SMS) against key performance indicators (KPIs) and provides a minimum expectation (level 1) plus three levels of increasing best practice guidance. Self-assessment results can be used to develop phased improvement plans that support continuous improvement of their ship management systems. Companies are encouraged to regularly review their self-assessment results against the TMSA KPIs and to create achievable plans for improvement.
MTIS is a strictly voluntary programme, run by OCIMF for the benefit of its members and to protect the marine environment.
This programme includes the development of a consolidated safety system embracing the physical properties of the terminals, management systems and operator training.
OCIMF’s trusted, neutral and fully independent status within the global industry is essential to capturing and sharing information and best practice aimed at raising standards of safety and environmental protection.
Members’ commitment to transparency and willingness to exchange technical knowledge and practical experience will drive a number of benefits from the OCIMF Marine Terminal Information System, which include:
- Higher safety standards, which will lead to fewer incidents – which in turn will feed back over time into lower insurance costs
- Improved operational efficiency through better matching of terminals and ships
- Improved effectiveness and efficiency, with better dissemination of terminal Information
- A rigorous, self-assessment and review based approach to the continuous improvement of safety management
- Better trained and motivated staff
- A secure process that is owned and managed by the terminal operators who retain full control over their data.