- /STS Service Providers Audits
DYNAMARINe has introduced audits of STS Service Providers on behalf of Tanker Operators to establish effective collaboration between those involved in STS operation and to ensure the safe, efficient and diligent undertaking of such operations by all participants.
The audit scheme rests on MARPOL requirements, IMO and OCIMF Guidelines and best practice across the industry.
Masters, appointed by Tanker Operators, are responsible for the safety of their ships at all times including during STS operations and they “… shall under no circumstances permit safety to be jeopardized by the actions of others.” [paragraph 1.5.1 OCIMF Guide 2013].
On the other hand, STS Service Providers, who are considered to play a vital role in safety and environmental protection during the STS operation are nominated by charterers of cargo interests. Sadly, experience has shown that on a global scale not all of STS Service Providers meet customers and regulatory requirements.
The intention behind this audit scheme is for Tanker Operators and STS Service Providers to work together to address this problem and safeguard the safety and environmental protection of all STS operations thereby avoiding substandard performance during STS operations.
Masters in particular must be confident of the level of service they will receive and that all risk mitigation measures are in place. The audit scheme therefore focuses on the elements that are significant from the tanker operator’s perspective and is specifically designed to encourage close cooperation with the STS Service providers working towards the common objective of ensuring the safe, efficient and diligent execution of STS operations by all those involved.
The following companies are currently supporting this initiative:
It is important that the management system of the STS Service Provider is consistent and follows the latest industry standards. The Self-Assessment scheme developed by OCIMF identifies 12 elements that address Management System KPIs towards adopted policies and procedures. Each element includes 4 stages and each stage includes a number of KPIs.
The level of compliance with these KPIs indicates the general safety culture, the preparedness and the quality of the services provided. The expected level of compliance will in practice depend on the resources available to a service provider linked to the size of the organisation and the number of operations conducted on a regional or worldwide basis. Tanker Operators consider that it is essential to establish a minimum level of compliance, as a base line, for a prudent company.
The figure below shows the baseline as proposed by Tanker Operators. This figure shows the minimum compliance level considered appropriate for each individual element of SPSA [OCIMF STS Service Providers Self-Assessment Guide]. This baseline may be revised in the future in the light of experience, OSIS and industry feedback. The conceptual basis for this baseline is explained in detail the referenced paper, a link of which is shown below.
In addition to the review of the management system, the audit includes a visit to each of the STS Service Provider’s equipment stations to verify the condition of the equipment, it’s storage and maintenance facilities and consistency with the examined management plan.
The feedback from Masters that are reported to OSIS will be utilized during the audit and any issues arising will be discussed. Furthermore, issues regarding the location assessment will be discussed and information will be exchanged in order for the tanker operators to be aware and properly prepared for the hazards as well as the available recourses in each location.
The validity of the final audit report is strongly related to the feedback available through OSIS and may be extended or withheld accordingly. The approval may be terminated when there is evidence, or strong indications, of inconsistency or noncompliance with the requirements of the Tanker Operators or the IMO and OCIMF guidelines.
In cases where no feedback is available through OSIS the validity is set to one year when a follow up audit will be performed.
Tanker operators are interested mainly that the outcome of the audit fulfils their criteria and not in the raw information itself. This means that there should be no conflict of interest in establishing a confidentiality regime regarding sensitive commercial, technical or other data. These issues will be extensively discussed and clarified before the initiation of an individual audit.
It is obvious that all information that will be shared with DYNAMARINe prior, during and after the audit, will be strictly confidential and will be used only for the purpose of the audit. All the material (including photos, documents, records and the final report) will be available to the audited party. Tanker Operators will have access only to the final report.
NOTE: During a past STS operation a Service Provider may have provided confidential information to DYNAMARINe or to one of our client. This information was provided only for the scope of the particular operation. When requesting an audit on behalf of Tanker Operators, the STS Service Provider should give his permission for such information to be considered as part of the audit.