In Riviera Maritime Media’s ‘Resolving MEG4 market confusion,’ webinar, sponsored by Lankhorst Ropes and Samson Ropes, panellists clarified why the MEG4 guidelines were introduced and emphasised the importance of testing and certification
The webinar was the third in Riviera Maritime Media’s Tankers and Terminals: Gas Carriers Webinar Week, part of an ongoing series of webinars.
The introduction of MEG4 to replace MEG3 guidelines has created confusion as shown in one of the polls in the webinar, where 55% of the attendees felt that transitioning existing ships to the new guidance was the biggest industrywide MEG4 challenge and 30% opted for understanding rope testing certification requirements. The remainder (15%) felt that mooring system condition monitoring created issues. Overall, a confused picture.
Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) technical adviser, nautical, Capt Sanchay Srivastava sought to bring clarity by explaining the background to MEG4 and why it replaces MEG3. The change was due to an accident in 2015, when mooring lines were used to reposition an LNG carrier. The subsequent report highlighted fundamental issues regarding modern hi-tech mooring lines, their use in practice and the human issues surrounding their usage. This led to OCIMF forming a workgroup and updating the guidelines to MEG4.
Capt Sanchay noted “the basis of MEG4 is the core question: are we really taking human factor into account when we consider mooring operations?” He listed a safety pyramid as:
“MEG4 is about how to manage the risk in practice,” said Capt Sanchay. “An introduction of new tools and a new appendix to encourage a dialogue between the end user, manufacturer and shipyard.”
“It actually extends beyond that, from the time the rope is selected, the time it is deployed and then in service condition, monitoring and right up to retirement, this appendix aims to encourage that dialogue and deploy products that are well suited for a particular application,” he concluded.
In another poll, over half the webinar attendees responding to what challenges crew competency brings around mooring systems, pointed to how different manufacturers provide different information and data. Samson Rope Technologies vice president of research & development Kris Volpenhein noted that the major rope manufacturers supporting the marine sector were involved in the MEG4 project and wholly support the changes, which he listed as:
The changes were not without challenges and for ships in transition from MEG3 to MEG4 the position is not always clear. “The guidance is fairly clear on what should be in place with this, but it is not prescriptive on how or when existing ships will be required to fully transition. As a result, we have noticed a wide range of operators, and even SIRE Inspectors struggle to understand the transition process resulting in divergent and varied results and outcomes on how it is being applied,” said Mr Volpenhein.
The issue with SIRE inspectors was evidenced in another poll, where over half the attendees responding felt there was inconsistency with SIRE observations are in relation to mooring lines and tails. Despite this disconnect between users and inspectors, webinar attendees were fully on board with MEG4, with 80% responding MEG4 was important to them.
Lankhorst Ropes commercial director maritime division Hans-Pieter Baaij presented on one of the aspects creating confusion in the marketplace – certification. “Do not underestimate the importance of proper testing and certification,” he said. “The MEG4 certification helps the operator find the right product for the usage.” The problem, he noted, was third-party bodies changing the testing procedure, which is only noticeable if the full documentation is examined.
Showing a redacted certificate, he said, “In this example, it was decided to reduce the endurance test with 90% [of the test cycle]. Besides eroding the safety aspect, it will also make it impossible to compare the performance indicators of the products with each other,” said Mr Baaij.
Beware, he said of statements on the certificate like ’pending type approval’. “Be sure,” he said, “to ask your vendor for a statement from the class society, confirming the tests are really in progress.”
Has MEG4 had an impact on the industry? Polling of delegates attending the event suggested it had with over 60% responding it had changed their line selection process. But there is still confusion out there. Nearly 10% replied that MEG4 had brought about no change in their line selection process.
The key takeaway from the webinar is that while MEG4 may not be as prescriptive as some might desire, the confusion is creating a dialogue between users, the rope manufacturers and shipyards. In the longer term this may lead to a new code for mooring design. In the short term it reinforces that “safety happens at the point of use”, as Mr Volpenhein said in summing up of the webinar.
You can view the webinar, in full, in our webinar library.
And you can sign up to attend one of our many upcoming webinars on our events page.
OCIMF technical adviser, nautical, Capt Sanchay Srivastava, Lankhorst Ropes commercial director maritime division Hans-Pieter Baaij, Samson Rope vice president of research & development Kris Volpenhein