INTERTANKO Tanker Event - INTERTANKO launches Tanker Officer Training Standards initiative


INTERTANKO is delighted to have launched its Tanker Officer Training Standards (TOTS) initiative, an ambitious project on which it has been working with some intensity in a bid to respond to industry concerns over how to establish officer training standards.


What is TOTS?

The main aims of the TOTS system are to provide the tanker industry with a clear standard of tanker officer competence, onboard and onshore training and assessment, and at the same time to provide a level of comfort to those oil companies that utilise officer matrix requirements; to ease the difficulties that tanker owners are encountering with differing “time in rank” and “time with company” requirements; TOTS aims also to address the current trend in increasing tanker accidents.


Why is TOTS needed? 

TOTS is needed because a number of oil companies have in place their “officer matrix” requirement based on two elements: “time in rank” and “time with company”. These requirements have grown out of the perception that officer competence across the tanker industry does not universally meet with some charterers’ growing expectations for an officer’s experience in rank and familiarity with his/her company operating and ISM systems, arising from the current rising trend in tanker accidents.


As a result, tanker owners are increasingly finding themselves subject to “time in rank” and “time with company” requirements which are competing and contradictory, and which can be difficult to comply with.


What does TOTS do?

INTERTANKO’s TOTS system provides a structured response based on core competency, providing a set of voluntary Tanker Officer Training Standards for INTERTANKO members, which, when complied with, will establish officers’ competence for general shipboard operations, as well as for specific tanker types such as crude, product and chemical tankers.


The aim is that this will be accepted as the norm of a competent tanker officer and provide alternative measuring tools to “sea time” or “calendar years” for both “time in rank” and "time with the company”. The TOTS system will provide a level of comfort to those oil companies that utilise officer matrix requirements, and will ease compliance with them.


How will TOTS work in practice?

The intention of TOTS is not to replace the officer matrix requirements, but to ease compliance with these requirements, by offering a structured, controlled auditable process to ensure enhanced competency training and an understanding of compliance with today’s rules and regulations.


INTERTANKO anticipates that the amount of "easing compliance" that will be attained with any of the existing officer matrix requirements will probably be based on a one-to-one basis between the individual shipping company and the oil company concerned. It will include various factors that will be assessed by and may be determined by the oil company - not least how robustly the TOTS standard and associated verification process is implemented by the shipping company.


TOTS in summary  

In essence, the overall aim is to provide a level of comfort comparable to existing officer matrix requirements – and ease compliance with existing officer matrix requirements by providing a alternative way of measuring experience other than calendar years or sea time.


TOTS in practice

After the formal launch of the TOTS initiative this week, INTERTANKO’s Executive committee members, many members of INTERTANKO Council and other INTERTANKO members have already made commitments to embrace TOTS.


The Nautical Institute and by the Institute of Marine Engineering Science & Technology have approved TOTS as a professional standard.


Contact: Howard Snaith