The Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) is taking a pragmatic and practical approach in rendering services to its clients during this period of unprecedented challenges posed by global restriction in personnel movement to reduce the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
IRClass’ aim is to manage and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances to minimise the impact on its customers by adapting remote surveys in maintaining the validity of ship’s certificates and thereby supporting the global trade, while ensuring the well being and safety of its staff. All of its office based staff are now working remotely from their homes and the company has also provided specific guidelines to its surveyors to follow precautions and country specific advisories when planning the conduct of surveys.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some ships may experience operational challenges such as non availability of drydocks, spares, technicians, etc. In addition, surveys and audits may, in some cases, not be conducted because surveyors are unable to attend the ships due to travel restrictions or quarantines.
Depending on the specific circumstances, IRClass may grant survey extensions as allowed by its rules and application of force majeure provisions to ships due for surveys but facing difficulties due to COVID-19 scenario.
IRClass is working very closely with its clients and may also consider the postponement of non-critical work, where appropriate.
However, where possible and with flag approval, IRClass is increasingly turning to the use of remote surveys/inspections which are based on self-checks by the Master/Chief Engineer of the ship or the Senior Staff of the works, using the IRClass survey checklist and remote asesssment of supporting documentation, photographs/videography by an IRClass surveyor. Facilities for video conferencing including live video streaming for viewing specific sections of the ship or equipment for cross verification, are also proving to be invaluable tools for IRClass’ surveyors.
“These are challenging times for everyone, as the Covid-19 scenario is constantly changing. IRClass is actively monitoring the global situation and is committed to working with all its clients to support their business needs,” said Mr. Suresh Sinha, Managing Director of IRClass.
“Our remote survey system is working very well indeed and is a practical and innovative way for our surveyor to carry out the emergency safety assessment of a ship around the various restrictions in place. Our surveyors can now deal with surveys, audits and inspections from the safety of their own homes and, subject to various flag approvals. I can see remote inspections continuing to revolutionise classification services long after the COVID-19 outbreak using digital technology and real time, risk based, data driven decision making process – in not too distant a future,” he continued.