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eCMID: Identifying, monitoring and reducing unsafe practices for vessel owners and operators 

Published on 21 June 2023

A few weeks ago, we shared IMCA eCMID System Annual Report 2022/23 (M 262), an in-depth analysis of the 1,539 vessel inspection reports logged on the eCMID system between April 2022 and April 2023. This revealed several common themes, as we highlighted in the media release at the time, around technical inspections – notably the controlled entry in to confined spaces, cyber security, and defects to life-saving appliances

Providing the offshore industry with standardised vessel inspections which reduce the frequency, while improving the quality and consistency, of vessel inspections, eCMID’s digital inspection reports are uploaded to a searchable online database via an IMCA developed app. Vessel operators can share comments and provide additional supporting information to demonstrate how any inspection findings have been addressed. 

IMCA Contact

Mark Ford
Marine & Quality Manager

Our analysis, which was split between data from the eCMID (Common Marine Inspection Document) and eMISW (Common Marine Inspection Document for Small Workboats) systems, is crucial for the users of the service – owners and operators – to reduce unsafe practices. 

Coupled with our extensive understanding of safety whilst working offshore, gained thanks to our Safety Flash reporting, we’re able to take a holistic view which includes an understanding of the potential impact of poor practices. 

It also enables the IMCA recognised and IIMS Accredited Vessel Inspectors (AVIs), who lie at the heart of our eCMID service, to reduce inconsistencies in reporting and feed into future training enhancements and system improvements. 

Understanding the value of data and analysis to improving performance in our industry, we have recently developed an online Analytics Hub for registered users of the eCMID system. This provides near-time, searchable and filterable analysis of the anonymised information contained in the uploaded inspection reports, allowing IMCA and the industry an immediate analysis of the safety and technical areas of most concern. Our annual analysis is a snapshot of this information. 

Common areas of concern 

From 761 eCMID inspections, it was surprising to see that 79 did not have a technical inspection carried out by the vessel operator. 

ISM Code 10 (‘Maintenance of the Ship and Equipment’), section 10.2 states that, “the company should ensure that inspections are held at appropriate intervals.” These should be executed in compliance with the appropriate procedures by competent and qualified personnel and are usually carried out by the superintendent’s visit and associated inspection reports. 

There remains a concerning issue of control for entry into confined spaces with 9% of the inspected vessels inadequately controlling enclosed space entry. For the shipping industry, the safe management of confined space entry remains a significant issue, with 11 seafarers losing their lives between May and August 2022 owing to enclosed space procedures being followed incorrectly.  

From the very beginning of all seafarers’ basic training, we are instructed on the hazards and procedures of entering confined spaces yet – sadly – we continue to witness unnecessary fatalities. 

Cyber security compliance was previously high owing to changes in regulatory requirements. This could be why cyber security findings have fallen by over 50%. However, with 13% of vessels without formal cyber security incident response, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans in place, it is still an area for owners, and especially operators, to work on. 

One other area of major concern was that 7% of vessels had defects with their lifesaving appliances

Some 9% of vessels have issues with navigation equipment and 9% with obvious leaks in machinery spaces, which also causes some concern.  

Lifting equipment also came under scrutiny with 15% vessels not having an adequate lifting equipment management system in place. Issues with mooring and towing equipment is also on our radar, with 8% vessels reported to have defects on mooring/towing equipment. 

When analysing the supplements, 10% of 382 vessel reports identified that the vessel did not have a copy of the most recent Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) for the dynamic positioning system. Other FMEAs that raised a high percentage of findings were pipelay and cable lay vessels, heavy lift vessel bilge, ballast systems, as well as walk-to-work systems. 

Smaller workboats showing similar trends 

The eMISW system provides standardised vessel inspections for smaller vessels that are less than 500 gross tonnage and/or less than 24m in length.  

As a result, it collects slightly different information than the eCMID reports, however analysis of 778 eMISW inspections between April 2022 and April 2023 reveals a significant number of vessel findings in similar categories: 

  • 8% did not carry the latest charts. 
  • 7% did not have all statutory certificates issued by the Recognised Organisation or Flag State valid and/or in-date. 
  • 7% had not addressed hazards within the machinery space.  
  • 6% did not carry the required number/type of lifebuoys.  
  • 6% did not have a planned maintenance programme.  
  • 6% had bilges that were not free from oil residue and/or not empty.  

As with our eCMID findings, eMISW reports are showing a similar trend of basic issues which aren’t being addressed. 

Collaborating to improve performance 

The extensive number of ISM non-conformances revealed by our assessment, not only demonstrates the credibility of using eCMID and eMISW as essential vessel inspection tools, but justifies its use.  

Our analysis empowers us to proactively identify, monitor, and mitigate unsafe practices among vessel owners and operators, and significantly reduces the potential for accidents and safety incidents. 

I firmly believe that through industry collaboration and a shared commitment from owners and operators, we have the collective power to drive down the number of negative findings in next year’s report.  

Through the work of our eCMID committee, and other committees at IMCA, we will be highlighting the issues and exploring ways we can target specific areas for improvement. We can also explore whether there is a need for further guidance and work with the industry to create it.  

Mark Ford is Marine & Quality Manager at the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).