This contains the latest information from OCIMF for inspectors and supersedes guidance to inspectors as issued in bulletin #7 on 6 April 2020.

To further support SIRE, BIRE and OVID programme users and other industry stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic OCIMF has:

  • Increased the availability of all OCIMF Programme reports from 12 months to 18 months to allow programme recipients a more extensive choice of available screening information.
  • Set up a Task Force to investigate alternative inspection strategies and methods in the short and mid-term to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the inspection programmes and its users, including vessel crew/operators and inspectors.
  • Issued inspection guidance during the global COVID-19 pandemic to vessel operators, inspectors, Member/Submitting Companies, and Programme Recipients.
  • Suspended all training and accreditation activities, including audited and accompanied inspections.
  • Issued a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document for the guidance of inspectors. The health and safety of all those involved in the inspection process is of utmost importance to OCIMF.

Inspectors are central to the process, and therefore, in response to feedback, OCIMF offers the following reminders and direction.

Inspection commissioning

OCIMF does not arrange Inspections or have any involvement in the commissioning activities of Submitting Companies.

The decision to commission a Programme Inspection lies with a Submitting Company in agreement with the vessel operator.

The Submitting Company and Inspector should discuss potential safety, travel and accommodation arrangements, while an inspector is contracted to conduct an inspection.

Where an Inspector feels that they do not have enough safety, travel or inspection guidance, through standing instructions or the inspection booking process, they should engage with the Submitting Company and resolve their concerns before travelling.

Travel, accommodation, and rest

Inspectors should follow the instructions and guidance provided by the Submitting Company and their sub-contracted inspection company, relating to travel and accommodation booking for the period while they are contracted to inspect on behalf of the Submitting Company.

Inspector must comply with all national, regional, and local authority travel restrictions.

It is recommended that when organising travel and accommodation, the following points are considered:

  • Travel restrictions can change rapidly during the current crisis, and an Inspector may be prevented from travelling to undertake an inspection or, prevented from travelling home upon completion of the inspection. Where the latter is a possibility, it is recommended that the Inspector engages with the Submitting Company to develop a contingency plan before travelling to the inspection.
  • Distant travel should not be booked for overnight trips if suitable safe accommodation cannot be booked and confirmed in advance to ensure adequate rest for safe journey management.
  • Driving long distances to and from inspections is undesirable as fuel/food/rest stops will inevitably increase exposure to COVID-19 for inspectors and the potential for passing this on to ship’s staff and the inspectors’ families.
  • An Inspector is responsible for ensuring that they are adequately rested and fit to drive when they drive in connection with a Programme Inspection.
  • Sleeping on board a vessel which is in the process of being inspected or, when an inspection has been completed, is discouraged unless it is impossible to leave the vessel.
  •  An Inspector should leave a vessel as soon as an inspection has been completed. Communication with the vessel and vessel operator.
  • An Inspector should not communicate with the vessel or vessel operator, apart from in the following circumstances:
  • To provide personal details to permit access to the terminal or facility where the inspection is scheduled to take place.
  • To respond to a health questionnaire or declaration related to COVID-19 exposure.
  • To update the vessel on logistical details of arrival onboard. All necessary communications with the vessel or vessel operator after completion of an inspection, including reports of potential exposure to COVID-19, must be directed through the Submitting Company.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and social distancing

See the World Health Organisation for guidance: WHO Rational use of personal protective equipment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Interim guidance 27 February 2020.

Inspectors should:

  • Comply with all applicable law.
  • Take proper and adequate measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 infection while travelling to and from an inspection.
  • Comply with the PPE requirements of the Submitting Company while inspecting on their behalf.
  • Comply with the PPE requirements of the vessel while onboard, providing it is safe to do so.
  • Terminate an inspection if it is not safe to continue while complying with the PPE requirements of the vessel or its operator.
  • Comply with the PPE requirements of a terminal or facility while transiting to or from the vessel, provided it is safe to do so.
  • Terminate an inspection if potential exposure to COVID-19 or any unknown illness onboard exists.
  • Comply with social distancing measures as far as possible.
  • Avoid personal contact as far as possible.
  • Maintain a high standard of personal hygiene at all stages of an inspection.
  • Discard any disposable PPE after leaving a vessel and before continuing travel.
  • Ensure that bags, personal effects, and normal PPE is properly washed and/or sanitized before each inspection.
  • Not wear the same clothing for consecutive inspections or carry previously worn clothing or PPE aboard another vessel to be inspected unless it has been washed and/or sanitized.

It is recommended that inspectors carry:

  • At least one spare set of COVID-19 PPE which includes a disposable suit, face mask and gloves, as a precaution to avoid the possibility that they will not be permitted to transit through a terminal or facility.
  • An alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Reporting of exposure to COVID-19

Inspectors should:

  • Follow all national, regional, and local reporting requirements for COVID-19 exposure or infection.
  • Follow the local and national directives regarding self-isolation, where applicable.
  • Notify the Submitting Company of any COVID-19 exposure or infection in accordance with instructions issued by the Submitting Company for a period from 14 days before an inspection and, COVID-19 infection only, for 14 days after an inspection.
  • Notify OCIMF if they are positively diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of completing any OCIMF Programme Inspection.
  • Cease all inspection activity upon a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 until such time that they are permitted to return to work by national, regional or local government regulations in force in their home location and the location of any intended future inspections.
  • Cease all inspection activity after contact with a person with suspected COVID-19 until either, 14 days has elapsed since the contact or, a COVID-19 test confirms that infection has not taken place.
  • Notify OCIMF if they are exposed to an individual with suspected COVID-19 symptoms during a programme inspection.
  • Make any notification concerning exposure to, or diagnosis of, a COVID-19 infection to the national, regional, and local authorities where they live and to jurisdictions where they have transited, travelled, or carried out inspections.Source:


The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has launched a survey to obtain a better understanding of the possible link between the COVID-19 outbreak and corrupt demands faced by the shipping industry, and how such demands are affecting seafarers and vessel operations. BIMCO supports MACN’s efforts to fight corruption in shipping and is therefore encouraging members to respond to the survey.

The survey, which is designed as a short 3-minutes “tick-the-box” questionnaire, gives stakeholders in the shipping industry the possibility to indicate, amongst other things, if they continue to face challenges during vessel clearance and/or Port State Control inspections. At the same time, MACN would also like to receive feedback on any new innovative or best practices which have been observed for e.g. use of remote technologies which may reduce the opportunity for corrupt demands. Please share this questionnaire among your vessels as their input is highly valuable.

Deadline for responding to the survey is 15 June 2020.
Source: BIMCO


The Guidelines were written by a broad cross section of industry stakeholders and published in their third version in December 2018. Since the publishing of the guidelines the concepts for cyber risk management have continued to develop in several areas. For example the International Maritime Organisation has fine tuned their views on the topic, IACS has developed a set of recommendations for cyber resilience on newbuildings, and shipowners are gaining experience with regards to the cyber threat and the associated practical cyber risk management techniques. All these developments have taken place against the backdrop of rapidly developing information technology where the information transmission speed is growing exponentially and the complexity of networks and the possibilities for data sharing and data cross utilization seem endless.

It is with all this in mind that the cyber working group is casting off and commences the review of the 3rd version of The Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships.

The review will take place over the coming weeks and it is expected that a new version of the guidelines will be ready for release during the autumn 2020.



BIMCO : The Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships

Cyber threats are constantly evolving which requires a regular review of all cyber related processes on board ships to allow for successful protection against cyber attacks. We are pleased to announce that today various maritime industry organisations published a revised third version of the “Guidelines on Cyber Security onboard Ships”. The document provides guidance to shipowners and operators on how to assess their operations and develop procedures to strengthen cyber resilience on board their ships. The Guidelines will continue to be updated regularly to mirror the evolution of cyber security threats and to outline new measures to mitigate against dynamic cyber risks.

Key updates in Version 3.0 include:

  • the requirement to incorporate cyber risks in the ship’s safety management system (SMS);
  • more detailed information related to the risk assessments of operational technology (OT);
  • increased guidance for dealing with the risks in the ship’s supply chain;
  • cases studies of verified cyber incidents onboard ships to highlight and illustrate potential problems.

Version 3.0 of the Guidelines can be downloaded HERE


BIMCO aims to publish cyber security clause in spring 2019


BIMCO is developing a clause dealing with cyber security risks and incidents that might affect the ability of one of the parties to perform their contractual obligations.

The clause is being drafted by a small team led by Inga Froysa of Klaveness, Oslo. Other companies involved include Navig8, the UK P&I Club and HFW, and the project is due to be completed in May 2019.

Planning and protecting is key

The BIMCO cyber security clause requires the parties to have plans and procedures in place to protect its computer systems and data, and to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to a cyber incident.

Mitigating the effect of a cyber security breach is of paramount importance and the clause requires the affected party to notify the other party quickly, so that they can take any necessary counter-measures. The clause is also designed for use in a broad range of contracts. This way, the clause can cover arrangements with third-party service providers, such as brokers and agents.

The liability of the parties to each other for claims is limited to an amount agreed during negotiations. A sum of USD 100,000 will apply if no other amount is inserted.

Two important functions

The clause will fulfill two important functions. The first is to raise awareness of cyber risks among owners, charterers and brokers. The second is to provide a mechanism for ensuring that the parties to the contract have procedures and systems in place, in order to help minimize the risk of an incident occurring in the first place and, if it does occur, to mitigate the effects of such an incident.

In the early stages of development, the drafting team discussed if the clause should also address payment fraud. It was concluded that the risk of this increasingly common fraud is probably best dealt with at a procedural level by companies tightening up their internal payment procedures to require verification of any changes to payment details.