One of the key features of a ship management company is to ensure the ships and the crew are operated safely. It is a necessity, both as a formal requirement (ISM), but maybe more importantly, because we need to know that our colleagues are working on a safe ship following safe work practices. By conducting internal audits, we are checking and verifying the effectiveness of our Safety Management System, and who is better to explain how this is done than our dedicated colleagues and Deputy SHEQ Manager Bjørn-Thore Seljelid?
Bjørn-Thore has background as a Captain, and in 2019 he joined our team as QA Superintendent. With almost 100 vessels in our fleet Bjørn-Thore has quite quickly gained in-depth experience and competence as an internal auditor.
“Each vessel is required to have an internal audit once every 12 months. The unpredictability of shipping often makes it difficult to plan these audits well in advance. Ships are suddenly redirected, delays due to weather, short port stays etc. Throw COVID-19 travel restrictions into the mix and it sometimes becomes almost impossible. To do the audit remotely is an option that we have, but it is no doubt more valuable for all parties to be onboard together with the crew. So basically, when we see that one of the planned vessels is approaching a reachable port, we turn around quickly to make the audit”, Bjørn-Thore explain.
The audit itself usually takes between 8-9 hours to perform. And when our Superintendents go onboard a vessel, there is always a predefined plan to follow;
- Opening meeting / safety brief
- Interviews with various functions onboard
- Review of required documentation / certificates
- Inspection round on deck, in the accommodation, the galley and the engine room
- Test of safety related equipment
- Performance of minimum one safety drill (i.e. a fire drill)
- Closing meeting with summary of findings (if any) and / or positive observations
With a large fleet we always have in mind that any findings or best practices from one vessel should be passed on to the rest of the fleet. On a weekly basis the SHEQ department issue a summary of all findings from our audits with the fleet. Because “Sharing is caring” and transferring experiences from one ship to others increases the effect of the audit.
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