Big year ahead for IMCA’s CMID Vessel Accredited Inspector scheme

IMCA’s CMID users saw a host of improvements in 2015 with the release of version 9 of the document and the launch of the accredited vessel inspectors (AVI) scheme.

The feedback from the user community on version 9, its expanded question sets and re-introduction of supplements has been very positive. The only area of concern surrounds the desire of some users for the option to produce reports which are not watermarked, for vessel inspections which, for whatever reason, cannot be uploaded to the eCMID database.

In an effort to improve both quality assurance and security integrity in the system, the Joint Industry CMID Steering Committee made the decision to watermark all versions of the CMID that were not uploaded to the eCMID database. In fact, a number of inspectors have reported that their clients have registered vessels on the eCMID database in order to get a ‘clean’ report – thereby meeting the aim of this policy set by the committee. However, the committee is willing to listen to the community and, at the meeting in December 2015, directed that options for changes are prepared for their consideration at the next meeting.

AVI scheme challenges

Another milestone, achieved in July 2015, was the establishment of the accredited vessel inspector (AVI) scheme. For this project IMCA partnered with the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS), a UK based marine surveying industry professional body and a UK certifying authority. IIMS has experience with accrediting professional marine industry competences and was deemed to be the most suitable fit for the needs of the CMID user community.

The challenge of putting a scheme in place that not only assures the competence of existing inspectors, but which could also be rolled out on a world-wide basis, was not
straightforward. One particular challenge was in making the initial accreditation process an objective rather than subjective one. This is the reason applicants are asked to provide as much evidence as is realistically possible when they apply. This gives the assessor panel a better body of evidence upon which to judge competence and can subsequently be verified by referral to referees.

What was not foreseen was the length of time that the assessment of each application would take. The initial expectation was that an assessment would take one man hour per
application; it has actually averaged out to four man hours per application. Approximately 50% of applications require additional information from the applicant. For
example, a significant number of applications which have sought special vessel type endorsements have been submitted without any evidence that the applicant has ever
conducted an inspection on these vessel types. As a result, Hilary Excell, IIMS’ scheme manager, has to contact these applicants and ask for this evidence.

All this being said, the AVI cadre already numbers 146, with a total of 166 applications received to date.

Effects being felt

The impact of the AVI scheme has already been felt in the inspector community. At the recent Offshore Windfarm Vessels Conference in London there was considerable support for CMID and MISW and a recognition that inspectors need to have accreditation. It is seen as a requirement for a professional service which, essentially, deals with occupational health and safety onboard vessels. Not to have accreditation would raise serious questions over safety assurance. Full details of the scheme can be found by following the link from the IMCA website, or going directly to the AVI website.

2016 and beyond

This year we will be releasing the next version of IMCA M 189 – Marine Inspection for Small Workboats (MISW), which will be produced in a similar format to the CMID. It is planned to organise an AVI conference around September, with the aim of bringing the inspector community together to identify issues and share common lessons and experiences.
This conference will, of course, steer clear of competitive issues and adhere to IMCA’s Competition Law Compliance Policy.

AVI applications are being received constantly and the accreditation course programme has been announced with several having now taken place. More details on courses here.

Regrettably, as a result of the downturn in the offshore industry, we were unable to introduce the tablet app last year. The IMCA Marine Division Management Committee has
decided to save the implementation of this element of Project TRADEWINDS until the financial climate improves.

Read the update in full: IMCA CMID update

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