Concept of vetting or ship approval systems becomes increasingly important nowadays, especially in oil and petroleum trades. It would be correct to generalise that results of inspections under approval schemes significantly affect the vessel’s tradability. On the other hand such inspections are outside of scope of either legal readiness or seaworthiness requirements .
The basic idea of vetting concept was to screen and detect substandard vessels, thus promulgating higher safety and management standards within shipping industry. For example SIRE (Ship Inspection Report Programme) was originally launched in 1993 to specifically address concerns about sub-standard shipping , RightShip (http://site.rightship.com/) was set up in 2001 by the three major players in the coal and iron ore markets, B.H.P. Billiton, Rio Tinto Shipping and Cargill Ocean Transportation as a ship vetting information system with the aim to identify those vessels that are suitable and safe for the carriage of iron ore or coal cargoes .
Element of advancement of safe standards was, however, deeply undermined by sinking of tanker Erika in December 1999 and tanker Prestige in 2002, which had recent major’s approvals at the moment of disaster. As a result of these incidents all oil majors reviewed their monitoring systems and removed from it any basis for liability under existing legislation.
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