By Capt. Hardeep Singh Mundae, Senior Manager,
Marine and Operations, Bulk Division
Vetting is the evaluation of the potential risks such as the ship’s structural integrity, managers and crew, past casualties and incidents. It is a grading system of a ship, enabling a potential charterer to compare similar ships and choose the best for its needs to maximise efficiency.
In the dry bulk trade there are multiple vetting processes which are carried out by various stakeholders namely: Rightship, Charterers, Ports & Terminals etc. The primary source of benchmarking of the fleet which is used for vessel employment is the Right Ship ratings.
RightShip’s aim is to identify suitable vessels for that trade. Significant dry bulk operators require vessels to be approved by Rightship.
Rightship rates vessels in 3 categories:
- A three, four or five star rating means a ship is an acceptable risk
- A two star rating means Rightship must be contacted for further review
- A one star rating means a more detailed investigation is required.
RightShip also rates vessel on the amount of CO2 emissions via the GHG (Green House Gas) emissions rating. The GHG rating compares a ship’s theoretical CO2 emissions relative to peer vessels of a similar size and type, using an easy to interpret A – G scale.
Charterers’ – inspection and vetting
Bareboat charters generally use standard BIMCO BARECON 89 / Barecon 2017. In this charter party there are provisions for the charterers to inspect the vessel and ensure it is maintained in good order.
On a time charter vessel, commercial operators have their own regimes for the inspection and auditing of the vessel. All major operators e.g. Rio Tinto, BHP, Vale, Oldendorff LDC, Cargill etc, have it in the time charter agreements for their right to inspect the ships which are under their charter.
Terminals vetting and inspection
The terminal vetting process in the dry bulk fleet is generally a TACIT procedure by way of pre fixture questionnaire and pre fixture queries. Vale terminals have the requirement of the geo textile filter for the hold bilge systems and the HPME ropes inspection upon berthing of the vessels.
Geared vessels vetting is carried out for the hatch cover weather tight integrity and the condition of the cargo gears as part of the terminal’s acceptance procedure in consideration of safety and carriage requirements.
ENEL is a major shipper / voyage charterer which has a detailed process and requirement which is done pre fixture and upon vessel arrival at the load or discharge port to verify the compliance with its vetting requirements. ARAMCO has similar vetting requirements for the shipment of its cargos from the Persian Gulf.
The vetting process in dry bulk trade is generally a trade specific and fixture specific requirement where the vessels are required to comply in performance of the trade. Any shortcomings on the vetting process are reported to Right Ship in most instances and further performance of the trade will require the vessel / managers to demonstrate corrective action using procedures and or equipment modification or training the ship’s staff.