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Safety Corner – October 2021

Welcome to the IMCA Safety Corner.

IMCA’s Health, Safety, Security and Environment Core Committee is an elected committee. This year, IMCA has been able to upgrade its systems for managing member contact details. One of the deliverables of this upgrade has been a step change improvement in the IMCA committee election process. The election process can now be conducted using easy-to-use and transparent on-line tools. IMCA Committee elections allow for ten persons to be elected, and the completed committee also includes appointed representatives from the regions. It’s also possible for further committee members to be co-opted to help get the job done. This election has seen re-election of several existing committee members, but also, some new members have been elected, including Camilla Heggøy of DOF ASA, and David Forsyth of Rocksalt Subsea. The first meeting of the new committee took place on 8 September.  At that meeting the committee also selected Darren Male of Fugro as the new Chair. Jim Knight of Heerema Marine Contractors agreed to continue as Vice-chair. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the previous chair, Darren Thomas of MMA Offshore Asia-Pacific, for his unstinting assistance through what have been some interesting years.

Maritime security remains an important part of IMCA’s safety work, which I help look after. This is one of those important areas where we should not become compartmentalised or “silo’ed”, but continue to work together for safety. Personally I like the fact that in some languages, “working together for safety” is just one word – in Norwegian, for example, samarbeidforsikkerhet. IMCA has recently signed the ‘Gulf of Guinea Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy’. This is the response of the shipping industry to growing concerns and increasing attacks in the region. IMCA has signed on behalf of the offshore marine contracting industry, as many of its members regularly work in the region and some have been subjected to attacks – though individual members can also sign the Declaration.

The security committee and the marine committee have now republished two IMCA documents covering two areas. The first is Security measures and emergency response. This is practical guidance about the security measures which should be implemented onboard ships and in port or shore side offices. The second is security threat risk assessment, that is, guidance on the process of identifying security threats and determining the vulnerability of a company’s assets to those threats, the better to identify and allocate resources effectively and efficiently towards mitigation.

Later on we’ll discuss findings from eCMID reports over the last two years. The final word on security, is that one of those findings is that 211 vessels, out of 769 inspections, did not have a cyber security management system and/or a cyber security plan. Cyber security is a topic that is not going away, but that’s clearly a topic that needs to be much higher up on the management agenda at some companies.

To ensure a wider readership, changes have been made to the accessibility of a document called IMCA C 013 First aid drills and scenarios. Originally produced in 2009 by IMCA’s Competence and Training Core Committee to assist with the ongoing competence of first aid personnel on board vessels, it sets out a range of first response and other emergency drills which members can use on board their vessels as part of on-the-job training, encompassing a range of activities on a typical IMCA members’ vessel. The language has been made gender-neutral, and some scenarios have been updated.

Back in June, IMCA’s CEO Allen Leatt attended the IOGP’s “Human Performance Summit” arranged for senior executives from oil companies and trade associations. Allen has rightly committed IMCA to support the initiative, as a significant way to improving safety performance. The subject has been on the radar for the HSSE Core Committee for some time. I attended an interesting IOGP workshop session in October, and will provide a fuller summary of that ongoing work in the next episode of the Safety Corner.  

In August, members of the secretariat technical team including myself began a close look at some of the findings of eCMID audits over the past year. The IMCA eCMID system provides the marine and offshore industry with standardised formats for vessel inspection. Working together with the team responsible for the eCMID is another example of ensuring that IMCA does not become compartmentalised or siloed in its technical approach. The eCMID is very much a kind of ‘health check’ for companies’ safety management systems, and so it was salutary to find a number of areas where members may need to be reminded of important lessons. We pick just a few out here, as this information has been made available to you as an Information Note and as part of Safety Flash 25-21. Nearly 10% of vessels inspected – 65 vessels – had no formal mechanism for controlling entry into confined spaces. Nearly 100 vessels did not have an adequate lifting equipment management system. Untidy engine rooms; defective mooring equipment, problems with watertight doors…the list goes on. Whilst only a relatively small number of vessels were seen with these issues, they are issues that lie at the heart and root of some of the safety flash incidents reported in recent times.

Thank you for listening  – or reading – and we shall catch up again later in the Autumn.

IMCA Contact

Nicholas Hough
Consultant – Safety and Security

Nick Hough

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