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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

LAUNCH OF EQUASIS AT IMO 24 MAY

INTERTANKO attended the official launch of the EQUASIS website operated by public authorities to promote quality shipping.

This launch took place at the IMO during the Marine Safety Committee meeting in London this week.  In announcing EQUASIS operational, Mr Schindler announced that the list would belong to the users whilst the amount it is used will be the definition of its success.

EQUASIS has a three level organisation, with a Supervisory Committee, made up of the signatories of the EQUASIS Memorandum of Understanding.  The IMO is an observer on this committee.  There is a Management Unit and Technical unit covering the daily operation of the system, and an Editorial Board, comprising several organisations, including INTERTANKO, that provide information and data to the system.

EQUASIS data comes from public and private providers in particular the PSC regimes established in the European and North Atlantic regimes.  The Tokyo MOU is due to start passing information in the next week or two.  Information has been provided in setting up the system from Lloyd’s register of Shipping, IACS, P & I Clubs and the ITF.  The histories on the 60,000 ships entered are meant to go back three years, covering change of class and ownership along with detentions.

EQUASIS is divided into two main parts.  The information module and the ship search module.  The information module provides general background information as well as a “Quality Forum” which is intended as a site for users to take part in discussions and exchange views about shipping quality.

The ship search module allows the user to retrieve the safety related data for a specific ship.  The data is arranged according to various headings and covers: Ships particulars, IMO Number name flag, call sign, tonnage year of build etc, along with the name of the owner, manager and fleet manager and their address.  There is also listed information about the classification society, ISM Code Safety Management Certificate, P & I Club, IACS database and history of the ship such as previous names, flags, classification societies, and managers, along with a list of ships operated by the same manager.  In addition there is a list of inspections and detentions by PSC, along with summaries of deficiencies for each inspection deficiencies, which have lead to a detention.  INTERTANKO strongly advises members to check out the details entered for each of their ships, as it is unlikely that the human element will not intervened at some point!  INTERTANKO asked at the meeting if the charterers would also be listed in the detentions section.  Mr. De Ruiter advised that the European Commission was currently reviewing the Directive on PSC and that this was one of the changes that were being considered.  However at present it would not be listed.

If a member has a complaint about the information entered then they should contact the EQUASIS immediately.  Detention or deficiency information should be addressed to the Port State undertaking the inspection.  Where the information is in dispute then this should be flagged in the system.  However, members are advised again to check this out for themselves as charterers are considered to be one of the parties that will make use of this database.  Members may also be concerned that information regarding any agreements with the ITF will also be posted in the database.  Under questioning, Mr de Ruiter claimed that the ITF was ready with their information and so it had been put on the database.  There was nothing restricting such information to the ITF he claimed.  Asked if owners could inform the database that they had agreements in place equal or superior to ITF agreements and have that added to the database, Mr Schindler commented that they were reluctant to add information provided only by the owner as they would want to verify the veracity of what they were being told! 

Another question was asked regarding adding casualty data.  It appears that this had been considered but at the outset it will not be recorded.  Asked if the information in the database would have lead a charterer to reject the Erika, Mr Schindler commented that since the Erika “had been withdrawn from service there was no information in the data base”!

The INTERTANKO Vetting Chairman has arranged to visit the secretariat of the Paris MOU next month.  We will circulate email addresses and fax numbers where complaints about erroneous information can be made, as soon as they become available in the Weekly News.  In the meantime we do urge members to check the information on their ships for accuracy. The EQUASIS can be found at www.equasis.org