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By Eilidh Smith, Marine Manager, Marex Marine and Risk Consultancy

When in my capacity as marine assurance surveyor, often the first thing that I hear on boarding a vessel is, “my vessel is fully certified, I have a valid OVID and eCMID, why do I need another survey?”

Marine assurance is the process by which charterers assure themselves that a vessel is fit for their purposes and that any potential failings, defects or peculiarities are noted beforehand. Consider hiring a car, it will have an MOT, however an MOT only states that the car was roadworthy on the day the test was carried out. In addition, you don’t just get in and drive off. You have a good look around for scratches, scuffs and other damage and make a note of it so that the hire company can’t blame you for the damage.

A marine assurance surveyor is simply carrying out the same types of checks that you would when you hire a car, only on a slightly larger scale.

Class and Flag certification, much like an MOT, cover the areas of the vessel that make it seaworthy, the hull, the engines, LSA and FFA to name a few. OVID and eCMID look at these things as well, but focus more on the areas that make it relevant to the task it was designed to carry out, such as DP and cargo systems. The assurance inspection drills down even further, it reviews the client specific requirements, such as the availability of relevant information onboard, the condition of specific machinery that may be required by the client, and the standard of close outs of any findings from all the other audits.

It could be argued that an assurance survey is the most important of all the surveys for the vessel. Whilst the others state that a vessel is fit to work, a successful assurance survey usually ensures that the vessel is actually put to work.

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