June 3, 2003
DNV flying squads battle substandard ships
Dedicated "Flying Squads" with experienced surveyors are one element in a Five Point Plan established by classification society DNV to step up the efforts to remove substandard shipping.
"DNV considers quality the single most important factor to improve safety and serious quality cases the biggest threat to the public confidence in shipping," Chief Operating Officer of DNVs Classification activities Mr. Tor Svensen said at a press conference in Oslo.
Besides the deployment of a dedicated Flying Squad, the Five Point Plan includes
improved monitoring of Ultrasonic Thickness Measurement companies,
improved targeting system for potential substandard ships,
actions towards high risk flags and
a strengthening of resources and competence within DNV.
So far this year, seven assignments have been carried out by the Flying Squads, covering all continents. Seventeen experienced surveyors have been designated to assist in special situations, such as surveys of potentially substandard vessels, fact-finding and quality investigations. Several ships have been put on the special surveillance scheme as a result of findings by the Flying Squads.
DNV is introducing a more strict approval program for companies delivering Ultrasonic Thickness Measurements (UTM).
Tor Svensen said, "The quality of the UTM companies represents one weak point in the safety chain of international shipping. Surveys based on incorrect UTM results represent a risk for misjudgements in the planning and execution of the surveys."
The new approval programme introduces a performance rating of each UTM company by DNV. In addition, one man UTM companies will no longer be accepted. A DNV surveyor will also be onboard to personally verify the measurements, and approval certificates will be cancelled for companies not performing according to the requirements.
A special targeting scheme for potentially substandard ships has so far this year been instrumental in leading up to the deletion from class of 32 vessels due to violation of rules and regulations. A further 40 ships are presently under special surveillance. The scheme uses the "Flying Squads", require immediate repairs of any deficiency and a prompt and thorough upgrading, or class is deleted.
DNV together with the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) offers Administrations of flags defined by Paris MOU as "medium" to "high risk" assistance to improve their performance. "We will cancel agreements with high risk flags not showing significant improvements in performance," said Svensen.
The final element in the Five Point Plan is a strengthening of resources and competence within DNV. "We are in the process of employing an additional 40 surveyors as part of our quality drive. Extraordinary investments of NOK 75 million in quality measures show that we are stepping up our efforts to fight substandard shiping, knowing that this is the only way to improve safety. At DNV we are prepared to accept a reduced profit margin in order to keep up with increased expectations to the performance of class," said Svensen.