Dispelling the common vetting myths

In this article, RightShip’s Operations Manager (Americas Vetting) Oussama Darif and Key Account Manager Carolina Lestari dispel some of the myths about our vetting process 

In June, RightShip transitioned to an expanded Vetting Criteria. Our customers often ask similar questions about the vetting process, so we’re taking this opportunity to respond to some commonly believed myths so that you’re prepared to work with our new standard.  

The new vetting criteria covers several aspects that weren’t included in the previous standard. It was also important to extend timeframes. For example, in the past we looked at open incidents for the past six to 12 months, we are now looking at the past 24 months. In addition, it was important to add more sustainability and human rights components to reflect broad industry goals.  

If you look at specific areas of our sector, the standards are very high. This is the case for oil majors, for example, with expectations going well above base compliance. We don’t want to do a disservice to those who carry high levels of risk in the operations. In turn, elevating expectations lifts everyone up.  


Myth one: vetting is the same as an inspection 

Quite often, our customers think that vetting and inspections are the same – this is not the case. Vetting is the process we complete based on a charter’s bespoke voyage requirements in order to assess a vessel’s suitability. We do this using our comprehensive data sets and analysis through our digital Platform. Where there is inadequate information, a vessel is of a certain age, or we need to physically see aspects of the vessel, we will ask for a RightShip inspection to be carried out to enable further investigations.  


Myth two: there’s nothing that can be done is a vessel is deemed unacceptable  

This is not true. There are often several routes to resolution if you are able to make improvements to the vessel. Ultimately, if a vessel is considered unacceptable during the vetting process our recommendation is that the vet requestor does not proceed with chartering.  

However, this is a recommendation, and they can choose to override that suggestion. We do receive. a lot of feedback from ship managers or brokers when they receive an unacceptable outcome, and we explain that it’s in their interest to fix a suitable vessel.  

We don’t want you to miss out on employment, but we can’t approve vessels that don’t meet our minimum safety standards. We are available to explain why a vessel was unacceptable and possible paths to resolution. Our team is always happy to help owners to achieve a resolution.   


Myth three: older vessels are likely to be marked unacceptable 

This is not always the case. When you look at the market and the average vessel’s age, the industry is always going through a renewal and replacement phase. Older vessels need a lot of retrofits to maintain compliance and those who do the work can continue to operate.  

However, it’s difficult for a vessel’s manger to keep doing that for ships over the age of 30 because it’s hard to source spare parts. We view this age is reasonable in terms of market expectations. Vessels over the age of 14 will also need an annual inspection. This is because we need a physical validation of how vessels are being operated to ensure expectations are met. These criteria are set based on the data RightShip has aggregated over tens of thousands of vessels.   

Myth four: new owners and operators don’t perform as well as mature operators in the vetting process? 

Again, this is not always the case. However, mature ship managers who have been operating for a long time understand vetting. In our experience, those with mixed fleets may perform well, even if they’re newer, because SIRE has been in place since 1993 and all tanker vessels have gone through this quality assurance process. 

Sometimes dry bulk operators who don’t have a mixed fleet (i.e: dry bulk, tankers, gas carriers) have had less exposure to comprehensive safety management processes. We find, based on our DOC data, that those with mixed fleets address all risk factors regardless of the vessel type to ensure they meet best practice expectations.  


Myth five: vetting takes a long time 

Often, we can actually complete vets quickly if all of your paperwork is in order. The best way you can do this is by providing all of the required documentation in one consolidated PDF within the RightShip Platform.  

The challenge occurs when documents are fed through slowly in batches or we must repeatedly follow up for more information. If you want a vessel to be cleared quickly, consolidate all of your paperwork including root case and corrective measures so that we can complete the assessment in a timely manner.   

Myth six: A larger percentage of cape size vessels will receive an unacceptable outcome under the new criteria? 

This is not necessarily true. We will not be able to calculate the percentage of failings until the criteria has been operational for some time. Once we have completed a reasonable sample size of vets we will be better placed to understand how certain vessel types are likely to perform under the new vetting criteria.  


Myth seven: I can only complete a vet within the Platform 

There are alternatives to the Platform. RightShip still accepts vetting documentation via email, however it is more efficient to provide your information within our Platform.  

Our team is able to show you how to submit data on the Platform for a faster response. This is beneficial because charterers also use the Platform and when you make improvements to your fleet, the charterer can see that as well. If you are not currently using the Platform but would like to see how it works, RightShip can offer a 14-day free trial during which time you can explore the features and benefits of this service.   
Learn more about RightShip’s expanded vetting criteria in this guide for shipowners