Friday, September 29, 2000

Polish Register launches
"consolidated supervision system"

The Polish Register of Shipping (PRS) is still preparing for a hearing "to be held some time during the fourth quarter" to see whether it can regain its associate status with IACS, the International Association of Classification Societies. IACS booted out the Polish Register following the loss of the PRS-classed bulker Leader L

The Leader L is in fact the only PRS-classed bulker to be lost during a period when bulker losses have been all too common.

The investigation that followed its sinking in March this year, as well as past experience, has led PRS to the conclusion that the presently applied survey system - of relying on periodical surveys conducted by class alone - is insufficient to ensure maintenance of local strength, which is a significant factor contributing to the casualties.

To minimize deterioration of a ship's structure throughout its whole lifetime, information on the ship's condition--from sources that include class, shipowner, crew, administration, PSC, insurers, etc. - needs to be recorded and accumulated in a single, ship-based logbook.

The concept of this new, integrated method of tracking a ship's condition - which PRS is calling its Consolidated Supervision System (CSS) - will create the basis for a single-source, centrally-maintained record of relevant information.

Under the proposed system each vessel will carry a CSS Record Book to be issued by and registered with PRS. Observations relating to the hull structure and equipment condition, as made by the ship's crew and all other parties working on or inspecting the vessel, will be entered in the CSS Record Book to provide a single, central reference point for the accumulated information.

The system foresees that minor repairs may be considered as an element of the on-going maintenance process, provided that such repairs are carried out by appropriately qualified crew members and in accordance with approved procedures.

Information on maintenance, inspection and repair procedures is provided by many different sources. Application of these guidelines often seems to be complicated, and for ordinary crew members (e.g. fitters), the instructions are frequently unavailable or too general in character.

PRS proposes to develop and introduce a new tool to meet the needs of CSS. Provisionally called "frame technology" (FT), this will be planned individually for each ship applying and approved for CSS entry, and will be delivered approximately one year after the date of introducing the system.

The FT instrument will contain information on particulars concerning design, structural areas requiring special attention, guidelines for inspections, permissible corrosion diminution of structural elements, as well as PRS accepted repair technology (diagrams, materials, welding sequence, etc.) to be applied by the crew.

Crew training will be provided as an integral part of the FT-system implementation, with "hands on" training undertaken on board the ship by PRS surveyor-instructors. It will cover the Owner Officers-supervisors (e.g. Chief Engineer, Chief Mate, etc.) appointed by the Owner, as well as the crew members (fitters) who, upon completion of training, may obtain authorisation to perform specified repairs (as prescribed and detailed in a ship's FT).

The innovative PRS Consolidated Supervision System was introduced for consideration by a group of Greek Shipowners, when launched at a presentation made at the Royal Hellenic Yacht Club, Piraeus, yesterday The concept met with considerable interest and support, with three Owners - Karlog Shipping Co. Ltd., Samios Shipping Co. S.A. and Seabulk Shipping S.A. - deciding to take part in the pilot program proposed by PRS.

The pilot CSS programme will also be implemented on a number of bulk carriers owned and operated by Polish owners.

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