Remote visual inspection gather pace: the Liberian Registry has approved the use of RINA’s technology for ships to maintain business continuity
The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR) has approved the use of RINA’s remote technology for inspections of Liberian flagged vessels. Shipowner d’Amico will take advantage of this facility in a pilot case on his fleet.
As the marine industry adjusts to the constraints placed on people’s movements imposed by national Governments to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, remote ship inspection has gathered pace. It is anticipated that the decision of LISCR could shortly be followed by other Flag Administrations.
Alfonso Castillero, COO of LISCR said, “The shipping industry is currently facing an unprecedented challenge and shoulders the responsibility of maintaining the flow of international trade during this crisis. To ensure operational continuity, it is vital that we remain flexible and adjust our procedures in a way that protects personnel from exposure to the virus, while also increasing efficiency. RINA’s remote inspection technology is proven and robust and facilitates the normal operation of our fleet by making vessel inspection completely accessible during a time when surveyor travel is near impossible. As the second largest registry representing 12% of the entire world fleet, we are always looking for innovative, safe and efficient ways to leverage technologies to make life easier for our clients”.
Salvatore d’Amico, Fleet Director at d’Amico Società di Navigazione and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Liberia, commented, “For the d’Amico Group, the safety of crews, shore personnel and ship operations is a priority. Shipowners and all operators in the sector are now facing an unprecedented challenge that can only be won by staying united and finding together technologically advanced solutions to protect human life and to ensure the continuity of operations efficiently. For many years now, the d’Amico Group has been collaborating with RINA to apply technology to the shipping industry, which, at this time more than ever, proves to be essential in inspecting ships remotely when surveyors can’t go onboard. We are very satisfied with the agreement between RINA and LISCR, one of the most important registers in the world, and with which the d’Amico Group has also been collaborating for a long time”.
RINA, the Italian classification society began trialling remote inspections as part of the society’s broader digitalisation initiative back in May 2019. This initiative included surveys, but also electronic certificates, fleet performance online monitoring tools, electronic logbooks, virtual reality training and general remote inspection techniques. From May 19 until the end of February 20, approximately 300 inspections have taken place, but now that figure has shown a sharp increase with a further 60 inspections predicted in March 20. In an industry which is traditionally conservative by nature, it has sometimes been slow to adopt new technology. But now, with remote inspections authorized by the Liberian Registry, they are paving the way for other flag authorities that are reconsidering the requirement for physical inspection by a surveyor.
Remote inspection devices could become common place in the future, replacing or assisting the attendance of surveyors. As Nello Sulfaro, CEO of RINA Services, said, “In addition to remote inspections techniques such as drones, ROVs, etc., we provide a sophisticated portable headset with camera complete with head-up display and a new smartphone app. The app is very popular at present as once it is downloaded RINA’s surveyors can take control of the phone to inspect the vessel with an appointed crew member on board. The App can also be used by a surveyor attending a ship to get technical support from other RINA specialists ashore”.
Sulfaro went on to say, “There is no doubt in my mind that this is the technology of the future and I am pleased that RINA is in a position to maintain business continuity for our marine customers during this challenging time”.