The Liberian flag has announced it has conducted the first remote annual safety inspection to avoid inspectors physically boarding vessels during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic
Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) has introduced the option to use remote inspections in a direct response to current health guidelines and restrictions from sending inspectors on board. This is one of the contingency measures implemented by LISCR in the past few weeks as Covid-19 has ravaged its way across the globe. Liberia led the way as the first flag state to allow remote vessel closings and instrument recordation, remote Class surveys, and now this remote annual safety inspection (ASI) programme.
The first remote ASI was successfully completed in Hamburg. Liberia’s qualified inspection team liaised with the ship’s crew remotely via web-based video communication, reviewed the ASI checklist, checked documents and safety equipment, reviewed drills, and inspected the condition of the vessels and functionality of the safety equipment; all without putting the health of crew and inspector at risk of possible exposure.
In addition to allowing the flexibility to extend to surveys, drydockings, credentials, and other certificates, LISCR states that it understands the important need and duty of the flag state to maintain effective oversight over its fleet and ensure the seaworthiness and safety of its vessels and seafarers, and compliance with international conventions. That is why so much effort was put into coming up with a comprehensive remote inspection checklist and procedure.
Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry’s chief operating officer Alfonso Castillero stated, “I have to applaud our very experienced and knowledgeable inspections team for their very practical and real-world solution, which ensures the flag state is able to carry out its obligation of safety oversight of its fleet in a way that is not burdensome to the vessels, nor puts the health of the crew and inspectors in jeopardy. Flag states must still maintain a culture of safety and oversight over their vessels, especially given the current state of the industry with crews not able to be repatriated timely and sailing for extended periods in excess of what is allowed. We feel for our seafarers at sea, and for the operators ashore, that are doing their utmost to ensure the safe operation of their vessels in such unprecedented circumstances. We will always use technology in a positive, proactive, and common-sense way. I am surprised that more flag states are not doing the same already, but I am sure most will soon follow. We have to embrace new ways of doing business yet maintaining safety.”
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