The need for offshore vetting!

I often hear how there is too much QHSE vetting activity in the offshore support vessel industry. I would counter there is not nearly enough and the vetting and regulatory compliance enforcement that is done has serious gaps.

I have seen class society auditors conduct an annual ISM audit on a large GOM vessel operator in one day with three auditors that by their own admission had never read or had access to the Company SMS documentation and found no observation or non-conformities when the internal audit found 30+…. And an OVMSA audit that identified in excess of 15 items in the company OVMSA that although claimed as compliant by the operator, zero objective evidence could be supplied…. And there is more.

If we ever want to address the root causes of accidents and crew injuries. We have to address the strongly defiant safety cultures still prevalent in the GOM. There is no shortage of lipstick on these safety pigs, but little interest in say what you do and DO WHAT YOU SAY……

What are your thoughts?


Well since no one else chimed in, I am not in that industry and refuse to work in the oil industry or even on a tanker because I will have flash backs of the horrors I faced during my chouest days. I will literally get cold and clammy when even considering a job offer with anything oil related. I think it’s called PTSD.

Anyway, that being said, when I was looking up reviews about them on Glassdoor and other places, someone mentioned their nephew who was an AB being killed because of a captain rushing him during cargo ops. There is really no workplace rights out there for men, women or anybody at at least one company that I know of. So all in all I think the solution would be for them to be forced to unionize. I believe that would be the only way to reduce accidents, death and harassment. Either that or a company that has so many accidents, deaths and harassment reports be forced to close down, like perhaps the government stops funding them, they become ineligible for any more government money (from my understanding there is at least one company that gets A LOT of government money) and lose their lease and control of publicly owned ports. How can they get public money and have control over a publicly owned port when they don’t care about the actual lives (weather they live, die or wherever) of the members of the public that work for them? Maybe on another thread someone can report the accident, death and harassment numbers by company.

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A lot of it has to do with the USCG too. In 1983 the USCG signed a MOU with OSHA

(Authority of Coast Guard and OSHA regarding enforcement of safety and health standards aboard vessels inspected and certified by the Coast Guard | Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

It states:

“The Coast Guard is the dominant federal agency with the statutory authority to prescribe and enforce standards or regulations affecting the occupational safety and health of seamen aboard inspected vessels. Under the Vessel Inspection Laws of the United States, the Coast Guard has issued comprehensive standards and regulations concerning the working conditions of seamen aboard inspected vessels”.

Have you ever looked at 46 CFR subchapter “V” 197-198 which is the “Marine Occupational Safety and Health Standards” promulgated by USCG?

It covers Commercial Diving and Benzene expousure…… that’s it. Compare that to OSHA ship yard standards for example. Vessel operators have exercised regulatory capture over the USCG for decades and are not held to the same standards as shore based employers. Where are the noise standard, hearing loss tracking, working at heights, confined space, lock out tag out, ladder safety, PPE requirements etc… etc… etc…

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Well money is the only thing that ever gets a company to change. If you have MARAD and USCG start to be more lenient on pulling funding for and COIs that are puke change stuff. But the problem is they could set themselves up for lawsuits and the companies are all about suing and even suing the government.

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Very true.

One could argue that’s the point of internal audits. A good audit program should find and correct issues and non-conformities before the regulators do. If the the scenario were reversed then your internal auditors should be fired.

What sort of additional vetting are you looking for? And out of curiosity what sort of poor safety culture are you seeing?

Offshore regulators are like any other industry, they are generally reactive. When BSEE comes aboard a rig they spend the bulk of their time on well control logs because that was the last incident to shut down the industry. USCG you know is going to look at drills and the ORB. Class is going to focus on tank inspection and maintenance history. And Flag (non-US) is going to pretend they know what they are looking at but probably just accept that Class already inspected it.

Do any of those above mentioned regulatory auditors audit the internal audit reports? Shoreside?

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Class does ISM audits on the office as well.


A lot of oil majors and their contractors rely on ISNetworld to vet the safety systems of sub-contractors including vessel operators thru a system called RAVS… which is a remote table top verification of written policies and procedures required by the oil major.,It is never audited in person to ensure compliance…. You can google ISNetworld safety manual and find many companies that will supply a ISNetworld compliant manual to submit for RAVS review…… maybe confirming that companies actually do what they say they do to ISNetworld would be a start. And secondly the USCG needs to Monitor class societies much closer regarding “check the box” ISM audits…. And adopt some basic industry industrial safety standards.

Agreed on internal audit program. In this particular case the internal audit findings were not shared with class auditors nor had they been closed out. It was reported to class as no internal findings at the direction of the management.