News Article 05/04/2007 B

Tanker Operator TMSA conference (Digital Ship, March 2007, p.14-15)


THE ADVENT OF TMSA has fuelled a huge amount of debate about what it means to be a ''quality vessel operator''. Dimitris Lyras, director, Lyras Shipping, and chairman of the Tanker Operator TMSA conference, explained to the audience how he has noted a gradual change in attitudes to the initiative over the past two years.
Shipping companies have begun to move from an initial ''yes we do all of that'' to gradually realizing how hard it is.
"Now people figure they will be lucky if they get a 2, and oil companies spread the news that most of us have a 1," he said.
Mr Lyras said that tanker operators could expect to see further pressure from oil majors, following a high profile James Baker inquest into how BP operates its refineries in the US.
The James Baker report said that while BP was very strong on personal injury issues (i.e. the hard hat and safety shoes), it was weak on risk management of processes (i.e. making sure the technical processes are well managed, such as relief valve maintenance and pressure checks).
BP''s CEO John Browne has promised to use the report to improve safety culture at the company, and so BP is likely to look even deeper at the safety processes of the tanker companies it works with, once they have all been converted from a personal safety management focus to a process safety management focus.

Key performance indicators
Dimitris Lyras said he expected the upcoming InterManager KPIs (key performance indicators) to be "quite practical and give the KPI trend some kind of sense."
Mr Lyras also noted he had seen companies coming up with ''lots of KPIs,'' which do not all necessarily make sense.
In particular, KPIs are useful for trailing indicators (which tell you how good you did), not leading indicators (things you can do which should reduce your risk), and 99 per cent of TMSA is leading indicators, so you cannot do it with KPIs.
Many companies continue to think that TMSA is just a collection of KPIs, to the extent of asking for software modules which can help them collect them.
Of the two trailing indicators in TMSA, crew retention and overdue maintenance, Mr. Lyras said he had seen companies try to ''massage'' their figures.
To massage the crew retention figures, companies could keep seafarers on their books who only go to sea once every 12 years, he suggested.
To massage the overdue maintenance figures, companies can incorporate items which take very little or no maintenance, such as the potato peeler, in their planned maintenance system, which will reduce the percentage of items with maintenance overdue.

Dr. Michael Schwarz, Reederei Nord
Dr Michael Schwarz, managing director of tanker operator Reederei Nord, said that while he thought TMSA was a ''fabulous idea'', it was not particularly suitable for smaller companies.
"It was invented for bigness by bigness," he said.
"In my company, with 10 tankers, we do a regular test audit, and find we have a lot of things on level 4 and miss a few things on level 1, such as where something is missed from a checklist."
Dr Schwarz also observed that there can be cultural issues with TMSA; it encourages a person to be completely open, which goes against the cultural instincts of people from certain countries.

Machinery condition monitoring
There was an interesting discussion about vessel condition monitoring at the conference.
Diane Ruf, head of VeriSTAR machinery with Bureau Veritas, said: "The trend of the market is to do condition based maintenance."
Dino Skynigos of Adimbros Ship Management, said that, in his view, you should ''monitor everything''.
Aeroplanes even continuously monitor the stresses which the materials are under, such as the wing, he said.
Dimitris Lyras said that there are a series of misunderstandings of how to go about addressing condition based monitoring. This is both in addressing items that affect vessels utilisation, one of the main focal points of the BV VeriSTAR effort, and also the degree of suitable instrumentation for condition based monitoring.
For instrumentation there are plenty of tried and tested ways that need no further technology, because the extra technology step will be expensive and yield insignificant extra benefit. An experienced chief engineer still needs to use his eyes, ears and sense of smell, because vibration monitors and instrumentation are far from being sufficient to comprehensively cover all on board machinery functions, or even the important ones.
Nigel Cleave, managing director of Epic Shipmanagement (previously managing director of Dobson), said he was a big fan of vibration monitoring, which he had used to protect Turbocharger bearings. "It tells you 6 weeks in advance if something is going wrong," he said.
He also said that oil splash for temperature sensors for main engine bearings was a factor that required attention.
Diane Ruff said she thought looking at metal particles in lube oil is one of the ''good indicators''. She also agreed that vibration and noise sensors on main engines are far from being useful yet, given the huge speed and load range for which experience needs to be collected. She also emphasised ''simple to apply'' indicators such as traditional looking, hearing and smelling.

Marco Ahrens, Interorient
Interorient''s marine manager Marco Ahrens spoke about how he had tried to bring together data from the different available sources, such as SIRE, Port State Control (PSC) and audit inspections, to see how well vessels were performing
and identify problems.
"We wanted to identify the key findings, seek out any lack of procedures in place and monitor the ones that employees are not following," Mr Ahrens said.
Continuing with the data theme, Mr Ahrens said that any discrepancies or causes identified from the lack of procedures, inspections and so on need to be properly categorised, and corrective action could be pinpointed.
"If our future categorisation plan takes in near miss reports, incidents and machinery failures, then we can make better progress," he said.
He explained that Interorient presented its findings on a quarterly basis and has devised a time frame for corrective action.
"The allocation of responsibility is also important," he said.
A change of attitude to training is needed by way of putting more emphasis on newly recruited sea staff, rather than on the senior officers as before, he said.

Diane Ruf, Bureau Veritas
Risk assessment from a classification society perspective was explained by Bureau Veritas'' (BV) Diane Ruf. She is responsible for BV''s VeriSTAR initiative.
Ms Ruf explained that risk assessment can be totally different for each vessel of the same type, even sister vessels, as they have different crews and might be operating
on different trade routes.
Each vessel is categorised in two ways, by support and functions. BV keeps a generic database of equipment and calculates failure modes, maintenance procedures and occurrence probabilities. A ship model is created listing all the equipment and its location, plus a maintenance and damage history.
On average there are around 4,000 studied failures per vessel, which are critically analysed, Ms Ruf explained.
BV has developed its own in-house software, which calculates risk quantification and examines ''critical'' items to reduce that risk. A maintenance plan is very useful, she stressed.
"Use preventative maintenance and study the results, plus the list of ''critical'' equipment on board," she urged.
Thus far, BV has completed 67 risk analyses, while at the beginning of February another 13 were underway.
These vessels were mainly tankers, LNG carriers and passenger vessels. Ms Ruf said that about 15 of the vessels involved are not classed with BV.
She explained that a vessel''s risk assessment would take eight to 12 weeks to complete and, depending on the type of ship, would cost around Euro 60,000 per vessel.