2001 Maritime

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October 9, 2001

IACS warns on dangers of inadequate onboard manuals.
"User-friendly" is a much-abused term, but it has real meaning in the context of shipboard technical manuals and maritime safety, according to the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).

IACS Permanent Secretary Robin Bradley says:

"Poorly produced manuals with ambiguous content, together with technical materials presented in languages which cannot be understood by those on board, have contributed to serious accidents and 'near misses'. This is why IACS has taken a new initiative. We have produced clear guidance on how shipboard technical manuals should be written."

The IACS Guide for the development of Shipboard Technical Manuals is available at www.iacs.org.uk), under 'Technical'.

A shipboard technical manual is any document that explains how to use, maintain and operate the ship and its equipment. The IACS guidance deals with its form, content, structure and presentation (including materials in electronic format). It provides a template for technical authors. The guidelines pay particular attention to "warnings and cautions" and procedures in the event of malfunctions and faults.

The dangers caused by inadequate shipboard technical manuals are illustrated by a recent accident involving a ferry that struck a quay, injuring a substantial number of passengers and crew.

The subsequent flag administration report stated that control of the port controllable pitch propeller had been lost as the vessel entered port.

The text of the maintenance and operations manual for the vessel's controllable pitch propellers was in a language that reflected the ship's original flag and none of the vessel's current team of engineers understood it. In addition, the manual did not contain a fault diagnosis and trouble-shooting section.

Bradley says: " We believe more should be done, by manufacturers of marine equipment and systems, to raise the standards of technical manuals and instructional material. Instructions on how to operate and maintain the equipment should be an integral part of the delivery."

"Owners should remember," he said, "that the ISM Code requires them to ensure that suitable maintenance and operating instructions are available on board their vessels, in a format readily understood by seafarers."

Improved Vancouver marine fuels service
ExxonMobil Marine Fuels (EMMF) and Imperial Oil have commissioned a new double-hull barge to complement existing marine fuels services at Canada’s port of Vancouver.

The ITB Provider, owned by established Vancouver operator Island Tug & Barge, has a fuel capacity of 2,200 tonnes, and can deliver HFO/IFO and MGO simultaneously at a rate of up to 500 tonnes per hour. It will complement the ITB2, which is already refuelling vessels at Vancouver, and the Imperial Oil barge Imperial Nootka, which is supplying marine lubricants and smaller MGO deliveries.

Imperial Oil is the only supplier in the Port of Vancouver with bunker storage facilities. It is majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corporation, and is Canada’s largest producer of crude oil and largest seller of petroleum products, primarily under the Esso banner, via a coast-to-coast supply network.