Conducting an oil tanker operational risk assessment

Oil tanker operations are extremely critical due to the significant impact they can have on life, property and the environment should anything go wrong, Shipowners Club has said.

To assist in mitigating the risk involved with this trade, several measures are already in place including regulations governing the carriage of oil and the mandatory requirement for all crew to undergo specialised training courses prior to sailing on tankers.

However, despite this regulatory framework, Shipowners’ Loss Prevention Team continues to receive notifications of operational-related incidents occurring on oil tankers. In view of these findings, and to assist its members engaged in tanker trade, Shipowners has developed a sample risk assessment as part of its ongoing Risk Assessment campaign.

The sample risk assessment is not a comprehensive guide to tanker operations. It has been tailored to address the key findings of the claims analysis; however, every endeavour has been made to expand the guidance as far as practicable to encompass most of the most important points that go hand in hand with safe tanker operations.

Shipowners would like to emphasise that this risk assessment is for guidance purposes only and it is imperative that operators conduct their own risk assessments based on their individual operating procedures.
– Envisage the task in hand and identify the hazards associated with carrying out the task. These hazards are to be listed and addressed individually in the risk assessment form.
– Once the hazard has been identified, based on the combination of the likelihood and severity/consequence of the hazard, the risk evaluation score is to be assigned using the risk evaluation matrix on the last page. For example, a hazard that has a likelihood of ‘unlikely’ and a severity/consequence of “harmful”, the risk evaluation score would be (moderate risk).
– With the determination of the risk evaluation score, using the recommended response table on the last page, appropriate action is to be planned and implemented.
– Using the above example of a risk evaluation score of 4 (moderate risk), appropriate controls must be applied to the risk and these must be listed out accordingly in the form along with the person responsible for applying the control and the completion date.
– Once the controls have been applied, the risk must be reassessed as a whole taking into account the applied controls and once again using the risk evaluation matrix on the last page, a residual score must be obtained.
– If the residual risk on reassessment is ‘Trivial’ or ‘Tolerable’ (scores 1 and 2), then no additional controls are required and only effective monitoring of the task to ensure compliance with procedures is necessary.
– However, if the reassessment of the risk again is ‘Moderate’, ‘Substantial’ or ‘Intolerable’ and yields a score higher than 2, it implies that the applied controls are not sufficient to address the associated hazards and therefore do not bring the risk to a safe level. This would require additional controls to be applied and steps 4 and 5 to be followed once again.
– This process would continue until the residual risk is eventually brought down to an acceptable level (scores 1 or 2).
– Effective supervision of the task to be carried out is necessary to ensure that there are no unauthorized and unsafe diversions that could effectively change the entire risk assessment, therefore, making it inappropriate for the current task.

Download the example risk assessment form: Shipowners Oil Tanker Risk Assessment

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