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Thruster integrity management guidance from IMCA

Published on 22 October 2012

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has published ‘Guidance on thruster integrity management’ (IMCA M 216) describing integrity management systems and their application to marine thruster units installed in both new build and existing vessels.

“Our new guidance document is designed to assist ship owners, operators and system designers in understanding the principles of integrity management and the benefits it can bring to the safe and efficient operation of both the thrusters units, and the vessels in which they are fitted,” explains IMCA’s Chief Executive, Hugh Williams.

“Our aim in publishing the guidance is four-fold:

  • to provide an understanding of the general principles of integrity management (IM);
  • to provide a knowledge base for owners/operators to build customised thruster integrity management (TIM) systems;
  • to identify benefits that can be realised through use of a structured TIM system;
  • and to demonstrate the principles of a ‘lifetime’ approach to asset management.

“And we have four objectives:

  • to allow owners/operators to apply generic IM principles in order to build and operate a ‘fit for purpose’ TIM system;
  • to avoid prescriptive guidance on how to develop a TIM system;
  • to present the benefits of employing a ‘whole life’ approach as opposed to satisfying survey cycle demands;
  • and to introduce quantifiable and auditable processes as a means of delivering high reliability, cost effective operations and minimising of ‘whole life’ costs (capital and operational expenditure).

“It is important to understand that integrity management is a goal-based approach and every implementation is bespoke to the vessel, therefore our guidance document is generic with no reference to specific thruster equipment, manufacturers or processes,” he adds.

Sections in the guidance look at thruster system boundary, integrity management, thruster integrity management, thruster anatomy, thruster types, thruster selection and specification, maintenance, and inspection and survey. There is also a useful list of abbreviations.

The guidance can be downloaded free of charge from the IMCA website at, with printed copies available at £2.50 for members and £5.00 for non-members via the web site or from [email protected] and from the association at IMCA, 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0) 20 7824 5521.