Tanker Vetting (eBook)

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Published Date

January 2010

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Tanker Vetting (eBook)

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This comprehensive guide to the vetting process outlines the reasons that tankers are vetted, the components of vetting, vetting operations and the impact of vetting on the chartering business. It assists personnel in improving the safety of tanker operations and helps raise industry standards.

The level of understanding of the vetting process among the many tanker operators has varied considerably. It is therefore not surprising that difficulties in understanding and managing the vetting interface exist among both parties.  This guide seeks to clarify vetting issues and explain the processes used, with the objective of helping all concerned to work together more effectively and, of course, in the process to improve the safety of tanker.


It explains:


  • the reasons that tankers are vetted
  • the components of vetting
  • the vetting process
  • the impact of vetting on the chartering business.

1. Background and Introduction

2 Who manages the vetting process? Charterer or Operator?

3. The commercial impact of Tanker Vetting
4. The Tanker Vetting Process

5. The components of the vetting process

6 Meetings between the operator and the Vetting Company

7 General Communications between the Operator and the Vetting Company.

8. Vetting Terminology

9. The Future of Vetting



There is a feeling among many people who manage tanker operations that vetting of their operation by the oil major charterers is unnecessary. They consider that people employed in oil major vetting departments have little understanding of the problems and challenges that face tanker operators in their daily work and that this lack of understanding leads to an unrealistic evaluation of their company’s performance and therefore an ‘unfair’ evaluation of their operation when it comes to the vetting process. This is largely, but not totally, a misconception as most of those involved in vetting have served on tankers and many have also taken part in managing tanker operations.


Conversely, those involved in the tanker vetting process have a view that tanker operators do not understand the vetting activity, will not respond to the requirements of vetting organisations and consequently make business life more difficult for all concerned. There may indeed be some truth in this, but life as an operator of tankers is difficult, the work is hard, the hours long and successfully managing the interface with the different vetting organisations is not a simple process.


In practice, the vetting processes have in the past varied considerably among the OCIMF members and the level of understanding of the vetting process among the many tanker operators has also varied considerably. It is therefore not surprising that difficulties in understanding and managing the vetting interface exist among both parties.


This guide seeks to clarify the vetting issues and explain the processes used with the objective of helping all concerned to work together more effectively and, of course, in the process to improve the safety of tanker operations and raise industry standards.


This guide came about when I was recently asked by a Fleet Manager to recommend some literature on vetting so that he could better understand the general principles. I realised that, though there are many good publications on specific aspects of the vetting process, such as the recently updated TMSA booklet, the SIRE publications by OCIMF and the INTERTANKO ‘Guide to the Vetting Process’, there is no single publication that explains the overall function and gives details of its component parts.


This guide is therefore intended to fill that gap and to provide information that will enable the tanker operators and vetting organisations to better understand the issues involved in tanker vetting. Achieving this must surely be in their joint interests and those of the industry as a whole.


I am indebted to the many individuals and organisations who, over the years, have given me direction in the subject, contributed their experience and knowledge and given legal, practical and anecdotal information. This guide is a representation of the industry development of tanker vetting and, as such, is a distillation of the above.

Tim Knowles spent most of his career with Esso Petroleum and moved to the Exxon tanker vetting department and took over as Manager in 1996. He took part in the development of the tanker vetting process within ExxonMobil, chaired the OCIMF SIRE development group and assisted in the development of the Tanker Management Self Assessment (TMSA) process within ExxonMobil before its adoption and further development by OCIMF.

After 10 years managing the Third Party Vetting process for ExxonMobil, Tim retired to become an advisor to the tanker industry on vetting related issues.

Title: Tanker Vetting (eBook)
Edition: First
Number of Pages: 62
Product Code: WS1214EA
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-905331-93-2 (9781905331932), ISBN 10: 1-905331-93-2 (1905331932)
Published Date: January 2010
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 210 mm
Book Width: 140 mm
Author: Tim Knowles

Customer Reviews

Tanker Vetting Review by Captain Chris Allport FNI
In this long-needed small book Tim Knowles, with his many years of experience of tanker vetting for an oil major, provides a concise understanding of the issues involved. In doing so he dispels a number of myths, long harboured by many shipowners, operators, their staffs and many of those on the commercial side of the business. The author explains that vetting is a risk assessment process with the objective of evaluating the exposure of the charterer to the risk of an incident or poor performance when using a third party tanker. The book provides, about what after all is a very dry subject, an interesting, concise and easily digestible clarification of the vetting process. It is livened up by the insertion throughout the text of ‘notes from the author’, providing personal observations based upon his long and valuable experience. Tim Knowles clearly demonstrates that the freight rate / price is not the sole arbitrator when chartering a tanker, that vettings are generally performed by charters for each and every service a vessel will perform (some carry out 90,000 or more a year); that vetting is not the result of a third party inspection of the vessel; and that to receive a written statement that the vessel is approved is rare these days. He clearly defines the reasons that tankers are vetted, the components of vetting, details of the processes generally adopted and the impact of vetting on the chartering business. He mentions that vetting is now being practised in other sectors of the maritime business primarily dry bulk but also container. He also looks to the future, speculating that with the use of computers and common data feeds, vetting will remain but become less complicated with less ship inspection as the focus moves to the operator’s management self – assessment programme ( TMSA). He points out the importance and prominence that TMSA results are now being given by many charterers within their vetting process and the need for operators to ensure that any changes in their TMSA profile are communicated to customers and in recorded in the Oil Companies Marine Forum (OCIMF) database. In all a very helpful reference book for those in the business of owning, operating or commercially involved with tankers, or any other type of vessel. Perhaps a few minutes spent browsing through these details provided by Tim Knowles will not only avoid a lengthy and acrimonious communication with the charter’s vetting department but expedite the fixture of your vessel. (Posted on 01/03/2010)
Tanker Vetting Review by BOB BISHOP Chairman, INTERTANKO Vetting Committee, CEO V.Ships Ship Management.
This is a valuable little book that explains the entire vetting process from start to finish. The technical information is interspersed with Author's Notes which come from a distinguished career in a vetting shop. Lack of understanding of the issues involved is cited as a key reason for Operators failing to address the vetting process adequately. The author estimates that 100% of operators pay little attention to vetting.10% pay a great deal of attention and the majority pay some but insufficient attention to the subject. The importance of fleet profile is emphasised stressing in some cases the main criteria may be the operator rather than the condition of the tanker in question. I particularly liked the Chapter on communications between Operators and the Vetting Company. It was startling to read here comments such as Communications are often casual, unclear and confusing and with reference to meetings, Presentations are unstructured, ill prepared and agenda of little interest. Clearly the industry has a lot to learn'

(Posted on 01/02/2010)

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