In a move that aims to maintain business continuity in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR) has approved the use of RINA’s remote technology for inspections of Liberian flagged vessels – and shipowner d’Amico will run a pilot test on its fleet.
In a statement issued yesterday (24 March), RINA, the Italian classification society, said: ‘As the marine industry adjusts to the constraints placed on people’s movements imposed by national Governments to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, remote ship inspection has gathered pace. It is anticipated that the decision of LISCR could shortly be followed by other Flag Administrations.’
Alfonso Castillero, COO of LISCR, commented: ‘The shipping industry is currently facing an unprecedented challenge and shoulders the responsibility of maintaining the flow of international trade during this crisis. To ensure operational continuity, it is vital that we remain flexible and adjust our procedures in a way that protects personnel from exposure to the virus, while also increasing efficiency. RINA’s remote inspection technology is proven and robust and facilitates the normal operation of our fleet by making vessel inspection completely accessible during a time when surveyor travel is near impossible. As the second largest registry representing 12% of the entire world fleet, we are always looking for innovative, safe and efficient ways to leverage technologies to make life easier for our clients.’
Salvatore d’Amico, Fleet Director at d’Amico Società di Navigazione and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Liberia, added: ‘For the d'Amico Group, the safety of crews, shore personnel and ship operations is a priority. Shipowners and all operators in the sector are now facing an unprecedented challenge that can only be won by staying united and finding together technologically advanced solutions to protect human life and to ensure the continuity of operations efficiently.’
RINA began trialling remote inspections as part of the society’s broader digitalisation initiative back in May 2019. This initiative included not only surveys, but also electronic certificates, fleet performance online monitoring tools, electronic logbooks, virtual reality training and general remote inspection techniques
In yesterday’s statement, RINA said that: ‘Remote inspection devices could become common place in the future, replacing or assisting the attendance of surveyors.’
Nello Sulfaro, CEO of RINA Services, explained how the technology is developing: ‘In addition to remote inspections techniques such as drones, ROVs, etc., we provide a sophisticated portable headset with camera complete with head-up display and a new smartphone app. The app is very popular at present as once it is downloaded RINA’s surveyors can take control of the phone to inspect the vessel with an appointed crew member on board. The App can also be used by a surveyor attending a ship to get technical support from other RINA specialists ashore.’