Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) increases the use of Remote Surveys to beat Coronavirus restrictions

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.

Coronavirus- How to Beat it

In the wake of the pandemic COVID-19, leading maritime training companies Seagull Maritime and Videotel have launched a new programme called: “Coronavirus- How to Beat it.”

Available free to the maritime industry, the programme outlines the common symptoms that seafarers need to be aware of and details the key precautions that individuals onboard can take to minimise the spread of this highly contagious virus.

Frequent hand washing is one of the ways to reduce infection and the programme demonstrates the correct way to thoroughly wash hands using liquid soap and warm water.

It also gives advice to crew on the procedures to follow onboard if they think they have become infected, to reduce the likelihood of spreading the infection.

“The spread of COVID-19 has had serious implications for our seafarers and for the maritime industry a whole, with some port call restrictions, delayed crew changeovers and container shortages which are hampering the supply chain and causing severe disruption to the world economy. So, producing this programme seemed the obvious thing for us to do to help minimise the contagion,” said Raal Harris, Videotel’s Managing Director.

“Now that Videotel and Seagull are part of the same group, we have been able to combine to make this programme in record time. This important information will reach our combined client base which numbers the majority of the world fleet, but we also want to make it freely accessible to all seafarers to ensure everyone can benefit.  Having completed similar exercises with the Ebola and Zika outbreaks, we thought it prudent to continue to support the industry in this way,” he continued.

The programme “Coronavirus- How to Beat it” can be accessed from the Videotel and Seagull websites.

Seagull Maritime and Videotel are part of the new Ocean Technologies Group headed up by CEO Manish Singh, comprising of learning and operational technology companies and dedicated to accelerating the potential of innovative companies that serve the maritime Industry.