New element in TMSA programme to address human element in tanker spills

ExxonMobil’s International Marine Transportation aims to produce another significant step change in preventing oil spills at sea through adding a new element that addresses the human element to the Tanker Management and Self Assessment (TMSA) programme.

In a keynote address to the International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference and Exhibition (ICOPCE) in Singapore, Jonathan Evans, managing director, International Marine Transportation Singapore, Fuels and Lubricants, ExxonMobil, said: “We can see a significant improvement over the last 40 years but we are still having spills to water and any spill is one too many.”

Over the last 30 years pollution incidents had been reduced by the introduction of the double hull, the SIRE programme, the ISM Code and the introduction of TMSA. Evans noted that since the introduction of the TMSA programme there had been “a very productive period in reducing number of incidents over last 15 years, yet we still have the Sanchi incident”. The Sanchi collision with the CF Crystal last year left 32 dead and the loss of the vessel and its cargo.

“We all know human error is the area we need to address, we have good sound vessels and good  management systems and yet these incidents still continue to happen and when we look at them its human error in way over 75% of the cases,” he told the conference organized by the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

To address the human element the company has been working over the last 12 – 18 months on a new element to be added to TMSA. A multi-disciplinary team of industrial psychologists, TMSA experts, and marine quality assurance experts was assembled and combined with industry consultation across both large and small fleets, as well as barges. “So we have a good perspective on what will work in the industry and finally we’ve added a peer review,” Evans said.

He said the key objectives of the element were to, “equip the leaders and staff on ship and ashore with the leadership and equipment knowledge, skills and commitment to perform at the highest level essential for safe, and efficient operations”. There are five pillars of successful operations covering –

  • Leading and shaping the safety culture you want
  • Well executed tasks and procedures
  • Well designed equipment and controls
  • Skills to respond to emerging situations
  • Learning before and after things go wrong.

“This will be the responsibility of senior management to develop policies and plans to allocate resources in support of each one of these pillars,” Evans said.

Work on the new element was handed over to OCIMF last week with a plan to finalise it over the next 12 months for roll out to the industry.


Posted 22 October 2019

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Marcus Hand

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Editor, Seatrade Maritime News Marcus Hand is the editor of Seatrade Maritime News and a dedicated maritime journalist with nearly two decades of experience covering the shipping industry in Asia. In addition to running Seatrade's maritime and offshore news website based from Singapore he is the Asia Editor of Seatrade Maritime Review. Marcus is also an experienced industry commentator and has chaired many conferences and round tables. Prior to joining Seatrade at the beginning of 2010 Marcus worked for shipping industry journal Lloyd's List for a decade and previous to that the Singapore Business Times covering shipping and aviation.

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