Remote inspection at large during the pandemic period
The Naval Architect: May 2020
On 2 February, a Chinese vessel applied to the Jiangyin Office of the China Classification Society (CCS) for damage inspection, due to the loss of its left anchor. CCS established a remote connection with the vessel’s crew to obtain detailed damage and repair information. A remote inspection, in accordance with CCS’s ‘Guidelines for Ship Remote Surveys’, was carried out and this long-distance operation ensured that the ship sailed on time.
“The remote inspection of a vessel breaks down restrictions related to the environment, location, human resources and other aspects of the boarding inspection, and can provide services for any urgent inspection needs and technical support in a timely manner,” a spokesperson from CCS comments.
As part of its ‘safety, environmental protection, creating value for clients and society’ mission statement, CCS previously organised for the ‘application research on ship remote surveys’ project to be carried out. It included in-depth research into the needs of a shipping company, discussed and analysed the applicable inspection and carried out a pilot inspection
These research results were refined into the ‘Guidelines for Ship Remote Surveys’ released in 2019, which further clarified the implementation of remote survey, its application process, application scope and inspection requirements.
According to the requirements of these guidelines, CCS service outlets can evaluate and implement remote inspection for an applicable vessel, and the shipowner can also directly and clearly master the specific requirements and steps for the remote survey.
After the guidelines were issued, its first remote inspection application was carried out by CCS Zhejiang branch for the damage and repair of the left windlass of Shanghai Dingheng Shipping company’s oil/chemical tanker, Dingheng 5.
The customer proposed remote inspection to CCS as its windlass broke down while the vessel was unloading at a wharf, where there are many restrictions on personnel and boarding procedures are complex. CCS’s Zhejiang branch assessed and confirmed that the ship had the conditions for remote inspection, communicated with the customer and decided to go ahead with a remote damage and repair inspection.
As the surveyors used video link to understand the extent of the damage and follow up the repair process of the windlass, the damaged equipment was permanently fixed, the remote inspection was successfully completed, and the ship sailed on time.
Pan Zhongbing director of operation and classification division of CCS headquarters stresses that, when confronted with pandemic prevention and control, ship remote inspection plays a particularly important role.
Using advanced IT to realise remote communication and inspection with the crew, supported by ship to shore communication, the surveyor can carry out an inspection to the same standard as an on-site inspection, without boarding. In this way, an ‘isolated’ surveyor can draw an inspection conclusion, while minimising the number of trips, avoiding unnecessary contact with ship and shore personnel and reducing the risk of infection. At the same time, combined with the ship electronic certificate service launched by CCS at the beginning of 2018, after remote inspection ships can receive the certificates and documents issued or signed directly through the CCS network, so as to ensure the normal and orderly operation of ship inspection service.
At present, CCS has eight overseas branch service outlets around the world. In the face of the Covid-19, CCS headquarters plans to organise its overseas divisions to collect information about the control restrictions and inspection accessibility of ships that have recently docked in China from ports of various countries.
The society aims to summarise and release this information in time to keep customers up to date with current procedure, ensuring that all inspection and certification work is carried out in an orderly manner.