Tanker vetting process as a quality indication factor in the shipping industry
“Vetting” is the commonest definition used to describe the oil and chemical companies’ process of selecting tankers for their cargoes. This is a process which recently tends to be harmonized but has not been described or treated to any greater extent in literature, especially not from an operator’s point of view. The first stage of vetting process is a physical inspection of the vessel. The inspection report is entered into an electronic database (OCIMF) but does not yield a result of pass or fail. Rather, this report is used as one integral part of the selection process. The other parts of this process refer to an overall review of the historical data of the tanker in question, including also completion of oil company’s questionnaires, as well as the evaluation of the tanker Operator as an entity. Operator’s performance in safety matters, being examined via TMSA audits by the Oil Companies plays a major role in the final decision of selection. The vetting as a vessel selection process has earned its place in the industry as a safety net which collects and reviews all the information gathered from the other safety nets; Flag State Control, classification, Port State Control and others. As such, it has become a valuable addition to the regimes of incident prevention as well as a most effective manner in which to raise the quality level of tankers. A case study will be presented in order to describe the tools that Vetting Department of a tanker Management Company uses to keep the highest standards onboard and ashore; so that they will always offer incident- free transportations and environmental protection. A connection with the TMSA Element 12 and Company’s Safety Management System is considered as the most trustworthy and efficient way to maintain a continuous and consistent improvement.