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IMCA's CMID: Applications for IIMS Accredited Vessel Inspectors open

Published on 1 May 2015

Today (1 May 2015) is a significant date for both the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) and the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS), for it sees the website going live through which those wishing to apply to become IIMS Accredited Vessel Inspectors (AVIs) for IMCA’s CMID (Common Marine Inspection Document) work on a global basis from 1 June can register their interest.

The new website is at with the registration application at The site includes full information on IMCA, IIMS, CMID, and on the CMID Accreditation Scheme, with sections on accreditation benefits, the application process, fees, frequently asked questions (FAQs), continuing professional development (CPD), and complaints and compliance.

Then too there is a list of forthcoming CMID database workshops for Inspectors taking place in Aberdeen (1 September); Singapore (7 September); London (6 October); Abu Dhabi (29 October); Shanghai (6 November); Amsterdam (17 November); Bergen (24 November); and Houston (1 December). These will be delivered by IIMS subsidiary the MSA who are managing the AVI scheme, and will be added to reflecting global demand.

Further information on workshops will be available on the new website, on the IMCA website and from [email protected] Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 5521

AVI card set to become standard symbol of quality

“Much hard work has been put in to get to this point,” says Chris Baldwin, IMCA’s Technical Adviser. “The initiative is being collaboratively delivered by IMCA and the IIMS, and managed by their subsidiary MSA, and will radically alter the vessel inspection expectations of all stakeholders, whether or not they are members of IMCA, as their AVI card, bearing the IIMS logo and a declaration that the accreditation is recognised by IMCA, will become the industry standard symbol of quality for CMID reports.

“Importantly, the scheme has a Code of Conduct on the new website to explain the role and importance of professionalism, objectivity, independence, integrity, client relations, professional relations; and clearly set out issues such as non-compliance, personal conduct, the relationship between the Code and the CMID Inspector; and the importance of CPD.”

Over a year’s discussion and planning

“The AVI scheme is the result of more than a year’s discussion and careful planning with IMCA,” explains Mike Schwarz, IIMS Chief Executive Officer. “We are enjoying a close working relationship with the Association and delighted to have been appointed to run the CMID Vessel Inspectors accreditation scheme.

“This is open to IIMS members and non-members alike; and even before declaring it open for use we have heard from many excellent inspectors who intend registering for accreditation as soon as possible, so we are very much looking forward to the response in the coming month. AVI’s CMID accreditation is valid for a five year period. Once accredited, inspectors will receive a certificate, a photo ID card (renewed annually), a listing on the DMID Vessel Inspectors website

“The accreditation scheme is an important and challenging piece of work that will resolve a clearly defined industry need. Furthermore, it puts IIMS firmly at the heart of the international marine and maritime industry. We have already put in a great deal of effort behind the scenes and I look forward to our hard work bearing positive results for all involved as the scheme is unveiled and develops.”

Three key parts

There are three parts to achieving CMID accreditation status and maintaining over a five year period. The first step is for professional inspectors to make their application; they then (within a two-year period) have to attend a one-day CMID database workshop and training day; and their third step is to maintain CPD (continuing professional development) by way of a log book and supplying two completed CMID reports annually.

Launch of CMID version 9 and the CMID App imminent

“With the accreditation launched and in the safe hands of IIMS and MSA, we will shortly be releasing CMID version 9. The changes in this are significant and extensive,” explains Chris Baldwin.

“The new version is designed to be more useful than ever as an audit tool, and will see the return of the vessel supplements, which were withdrawn when version 7 was introduced in 2011. These 16 supplements will cover the common offshore vessel types, and are designed to be added to the general section of the document. The ability to add more photographs to the document will be included and we intend to ensure that the inappropriate generation of findings is reduced. We are planning to introduce the new version in July and will let the users get familiar with the new version before we commence the international workshop programme in September.”

IMCA will also be launching an App at the same time, which has been designed for Android and Apple devices, and links users directly to the eCMID database.

CMID: the background

The Common Marine Inspection Document (CMID), published by IMCA, is a globally recognised vessel safety audit system that has done sterling work since 1999, meeting the aim of reducing the number of audits carried out on individual marine vessels by adoption of a standard format for inspection. It was joined in 2009 by the eCMID, along with a secure online database for the CMID reports, which are ‘living’ documents that can be kept and updated onboard a vessel.

In all nearly 2,600 users (operators, clients and inspectors) have made use of the eCMID database, with 887 vessels on the system by 1 December 2014. “However, we know that on average only 10% of downloaded CMID report forms are then uploaded onto the eCMID database when completed,” explains Chris Baldwin. “This data appears to support anecdotal evidence that the CMID user community is much broader than appears at first sight.”

Naturally, over the years CMID has been regularly reviewed and updated in the light of regulatory and technical developments. This year (2015) will see the release of version 9 reflecting that the current version, and the status of vessel inspectors, needed further revision to meet the demands of modern work practices and recent regulatory amendments in the maritime domain.

The revision re-emphasises the need to make the CMID an integral part of the process of the ship safety and environmental protection management system, which is a requirement of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. This places legally binding responsibilities on companies, owners, contractors and vessel masters and crew for safety, and environmental protection management.

CMID is there to assess three measures of vessel assurance – the safety of personnel; the protection of the environment; and to visually inspect the internal integrity of the vessel’s hull (i.e. its watertight integrity). The ownership by the Master and crew of the safety management system (SMS) cannot be stressed enough, and it is very apparent to vessel inspectors when the crew are properly engaged with the safety management system employed onboard. The inspector effectively acts as the Master’s independent observer with a responsibility to make an objective assessment of their vessel’s SMS, the top priority being to assure the safety of the Master and crew in the operation of the vessel.

The CMID applies to vessels 24m and over as well as the +500GRT, with the Marine Inspection Document for Small Workboats (MISW – IMCA M 189) applying to vessels less than 500GRT and 24m in length. The MISW has also been part of the review and will also employ the use of vessel supplements (though not as many as the CMID). However, the intent is to provide vessel operator, inspector and client with the tools to do the job required. So if stakeholders agree that a CMID is more appropriate for the vessel then it could be used regardless of the actual size of the vessel. Flexibility is the watchword in this case and we intend that the CMID/MISW system provides that.

Further information on all aspects of the CMID and the inspection process is available from IMCA at and the IIMS at