Pantelis Chinakis, President & Managing Director Of INSB Class, Talks Safety Standards, Ship Classification, Design & Construction, Technology And Training
Pantelis Chinakis is the President & Managing Director of the International Naval Surveys Bureau (INSB Class), an independent Greek ships classification society working with the objective of safeguarding life, property and the marine environment. INSB Class holds a network of exclusive offices and surveyors that provide certification services worldwide.
functions which aims towards the welfare and sustainability of the INSB Class. We design our course to ensure that it remains relevant to our vision, ethics and principles and that can adopt and respond to changes, trends and challenging market developments as they occur.
What is your main commitment for 2018?
Our corporate strategic orientation is very clear in line with the industry compliance standards and expectations. Under such a perspective and on a broader context of the next 3 year term, we have identified a set of strategic priorities as important elements to our ongoing successful performance, which can be briefly summarised on Standards – Performance – Engagement.
Within 2018 and among other important goals, we shall remain focused in our efforts for the continuous alignment of our applied quality and technical standards with the EU/IACS benchmark.
We will aim for talent development, adoption of digitalisation technologies to improve and simplify our certification processes and promote our customers' support. These priorities, complemented with quality performance in the key PSC MoUs and with an extrovert collaborative approach, will help us drive further progress and strengthen our competitiveness forward.
Ultimately, we shall endeavour to increase our displacement in the top tier of the leading Non-IACS classification societies. Leading the cluster of Non-IACS organisations is not an easy task and there are no secret formulas to success. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment and resources to maintain such a lead. Engagement is also an important element as INSB Class has also acquired the role of an agent for innovation, working to develop, promote safety standards and test innovative, environmental friendly marine solutions for a sustainable future.
With engagement, our learning curve is broaden and therefore we get the opportunity not only to listen to various clusters but also to take smart decisions and enforce new approaches and practices as similar bigger size organizations do, towards promoting safety which is the bedrock of our corporate mission.
What standards do ships have to comply with in order to obtain the Certificate of Ship's Classification?
Ship Classification is a system, which entails verification against a set of requirements during the design, construction and operation of ships and offshore units. These requirements are best known as Rules & Regulations and in many instances encompass requirements derived by research activity, IMO Conventions as well as other international accepted criteria relevant to ships type and size.
INSB Class has developed its own set of Rules & Regulations, relevant to ships design, construction and operational maintenance, in line with IACS unified requirements. Design and construction requirements, the scope of tests and surveys are defined by the INSB Class Rules for Ship Classification and Construction. In order for a vessel to achieve classification with INSB Class, there is a dedicated process that must be fulfilled in order to confirm with the applicable rules, and must be assessed and verified. This process includes the examination of the ship’s history, technical compliance review, structural and stability assessments, and the successful performance of necessary surveys for purposes of classification.
INSB Class Rules require that every classed vessel shall be subject to periodic surveys throughout its service life to determine whether it is maintained in accordance with classification standards. Classification surveys are based on a regular five-year cycle. Following the successful completion of a classification survey, INSB Class confirms the ship’s compliance with these requirements by issuing a Certificate of Ship’s Classification which includes a class notation (as applicable to each vessel), and enters the vessel into the INSB Class Register of ships.
What aspects do you focus on when undertaking a five-year cycle classification survey?
Typically, a five-year cycle classification survey commences with a Special Survey on dry dock where the vessel is subjected to extensive inspections and tests for its hull structure, equipment components, electrical installation and machinery including propeller and shaft. In addition plan appraisal, engineering, technical computations and measurements are performed to assess the level of the vessel’s conformity against the INSB Classification's Rules & Regulations and applicable IMO Conventions. The vessel’s type, age, history and other past operational elements are also examined and reviewed.
The cycle then continues with the performance of required Annual Surveys and of an Intermediate Survey in between, where on successful completion of each survey the INSB Classification Certificate is endorsed to confirm conformity until the five-year cycle is completed and then the cycle resets. Depending on the occasion and as the case may dictate, INSB Class surveyors also witness repairs and / or modifications of a vessel to determine that the work performed returns the unit to a condition that conforms to the INSB Class Rules and therefore class certification is maintained.
How do you tackle non-compliant vessels?
We are conscious that regulatory compliance does not only affect ship safety alone but critically its crew, operations and the environment. On a larger scale, the level of compliance of a ship may have a negative consequence to other segments and stakeholders of the industry too, including flag state, charterers, insurers, port state control, etc.
As a result of our industry’s demanding regulatory context, it is therefore prudent to set and continuously gauge various metrics (known as KPIs) to safeguard and mitigate actions that may jeopardise safety as a whole.
From our stance, INSB Class enforces a risk approach method and a monitoring process is enabled to identify and manage non-compliant vessels. In this path, one of the key activities deployed is the pre-entry screening applied to all applications received where ships’ past history, records and performance is evaluated and determines whether the vessel will qualify for entry or not. In cases of transfer of class from another classification society to INSB Class or vice-versa, a direct exchange of information is realised to ensure that the gaining society is knowledgeable of the vessel’s survey history.
In instances where a candidate vessel fails to meet INSB Class standards, the entry process shall be disrupted. In the case of an already classed vessel, if compliance is not maintained throughout its full classification period with the INSB Class, then as determined by INSB Class Rules, the vessel’s classification status is suspended until the reasons which led to losing compliance have been rectified. In the opposite case, the vessel’s class will be withdrawn. The periodic compliance assessments and verification against international safety standards is essential for managing safety and equally important is the level of cooperation between shipowners and other key stakeholders such as the vessel’s flag state, classification societies, port state control authorities etc.
With current and future regulation in mind, what more can be done by shipowners to enhance safety of life and property at sea?
Over the years, shipping has transformed and its regulatory compliance framework constantly expands. There are many variables that need to be aligned towards safety.
Shipping adopts best practices and enforces standards to sustain and promote safety in many ways, from lessons learned to application of pioneer concepts of design and emerging eco-friendly technologies to reduce the environmental footprint from maritime operations.
Within very turbulent and tight market conditions, it is important they sustain and keep a high level of care for their managed operated fleet, elevate awareness on their risk management approach, and work with their flag and classification organisations for early guidance on compliance with new regulations. Managing the ship’s operating condition and inventory properly, exercising prudent stewardship over crew performance and a collaborative attitude between ship operators and other key parties are essential contributing parameters towards safety.
Constant development of relationships and effective communication between shore and crew are also key, together with the optimal level of risk orientation and assurance that proper contingency plans are in place, communicated and readily enforced.
Several industry analysis have suggested that a key determinant related to marine accidents or operational errors is related to the human factor. Ultimately, it can be also said that shipping as an industry is founded upon the development of relationships and effective communication. Therefore the direct human element is always invaluable.
Another important area is getting ready in time for the compliance with new upcoming regulations. There is no doubt that the cost of compliance is constantly rising. However, there are two sides to every coin. Due consideration should be also given to possible commercial barriers a ship may face, from delayed compliance. Shipowners or operators should proactively assess non-compliance risks against the projected cost to achieve needed compliance, and hence prioritise actions to ensure that their ships conform to newly enforced standards and retain the highest level of operational capability.
Where do you see the Greek shipping industry in 5 years?
Despite the global negative developments the industry has faced, Greek shipping has demonstrated resiliency, forward thinking and dexterity while navigating a tough and challenged surrounding for the past years.
Notably, Greek-owned fleet accounts for almost 20% of world’s dwt and surpasses 46% of the total EU fleet.
With this in mind, I anticipate that Greek shipowners will continue to influence and lead the international maritime arena. They are known for their ability to deeply understand the market and take critical decisions in perfect timing which constitutes a great competitive advantage. Coupled with the fact that shipping activity is second nature for the Greek nation, Greek shipowners will remain early adopters of new technologies and regulations, so they stay ahead of the curve.
Please tell us more about the training & development of your professional and experience auditors:
The human element continues to be the most important contributing factor to INSB Class operations. Given the continuous development of the industry’s safety norms and technological evolvements, INSB Class remains committed for the continuous updating and training needs of its workforce the derives from the application of new codes, emerging standards as well as due to trends on new technologies and skills in demand.
INSB Class realises several training and collective assessment techniques throughout the year, both for its administrative and technical personnel. Our surveyors and auditors receive internal and onboard training while periodic refreshers are conducted to ensure that they stay abreast of new safety requirements and in support of their continuous professional development. A number of selective external training sessions as required, are another source of attaining knowledge and raising competence.
A valuable process which assist us evaluate and assess the surveyor’s-auditor’s performance and future training needs is also sourced by our dedicated quality procedure on surveyor’s-auditors activity monitoring. This is realised in a two-fold level and includes post evaluation of performed surveys as well as joint on board assessments (known as VCAs) during the realisation of a survey.
What role does technology play in the current marine arena?
In the quest for safety and optimisation, technological developments have always steered ship innovation, as it can be proven by the amount of research and new regulations enforced.
Currently there is a broad agenda of new global technological themes with a global focus such as environmental issues, hybrid sources of energy for ships, digitalisation, autonomous shipping, and even primary guidelines for remote inspection techniques by a number of larger classifications societies.
The updates on the Ship Construction File (SCF) under GBS regulations has been launched while new norms for the environmental disposal of ships and the required upgrade of infrastructure for recycling yards is trending. IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention kick started and remains a challenge for many owners worldwide.
Meantime, ship-shore communication remains a critical factor in ship operations. Big data and introduction of new technology into the traditional IT systems of many shipping companies remains a major trend and a challenge for the maritime transport sector. On one side there is a large amount of data, but what is important is how such data can be efficiently utilised to optimise operations, enhance coordination and boost knowledge sharing towards greater safety.
As a natural consequence, new ships are now becoming more digitally sophisticated and therefore more dependent on software-based control systems, equipped with a new generation of equipment with higher operational capabilities, which may promote smarter operations but also highlights the matter of cyber security.
Hence, technology remains a strong driving force and shapes the profile of the shipping industry, globally.
What is your most memorable shipping experience and favourite ship?
I have been in the industry for over 25 years now and I believe that the shifts and changes of the shipping industry of the last few years have been remarkable. We have all witness large ground-shaking transformations including crazy fluctuations in many shipping indexes, large scale alliances, depressed freights, overcapacity, and new technological trends up to autonomous ships. The new normal is here. This is a memorable experience.
As for my favourite ship, I will pick a great mega yacht, the O’PARI 3 (now named NATALINA A). Built by Golden Yachts in Greece at their Perama shipyard, she was delivered in 2015. With a custom design, 72 metres in length and beautiful exterior and interior design, she is a true gem.
Editor, Gibraltar Shipping
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