Setting new standards
Assured quality from approved service suppliers
For centuries, classification societies have helped shape standards and regulations to improve the safety of ships. Vessels that live up to these requirements receive approval. Thomas Knödlseder, senior engineer at DNV GL Maritime, explains how classification societies ensure the quality of services suppliers.
Thomas Knödlseder: With ships and offshore structures, it is especially important that certain levels of quality and reliability are achieved. At DNV GL, our purpose is to safeguard life, property, and the environment. As a classification society, we check and approve the design, materials, and components of newly built vessels and carry out periodic inspections on ships in operation to verify that standards continue to be met. If they fulfill our requirements, they receive the classification certificate, which is typically valid for five years.
In recent years, the maritime industry has undergone significant change. Has this had an impact on your approval process?
Of course. We always have to adapt our rules and regulations to reflect changing practices and advances in technology. For example, as more and more ship operators implement CBM (condition-based maintenance) strategies, we need to make sure that our rules enable this method of verifying machinery condition. However, first we must make sure that it is done correctly.
“Our purpose is, and always has been, to safeguard life, property, and the environment.”
Thomas Knödlseder, Senior Engineer, DNV GL – Maritime
So how does DNV GL go about doing this?
We have to ensure that the condition monitoring (CM) systems deliver accurate information. If, for example, the systems are not monitoring correctly, the crew on board a vessel might draw false conclusions from the data. This could jeopardize the reliability of a ship. For this reason, we check that the service suppliers live up to certain standards before they are permitted to work with DNV GL approved vessels.
What are the main things you look out for when assessing service suppliers?
First of all, the service supplier has to be able to carry out its services at a consistently high standard of quality. We verify that CM systems are installed properly, that they are collecting the right amount of information to form an accurate picture, and that the data is analyzed by qualified, skilled personnel. In addition, we demand that service suppliers have a continuous improvement program in place, including training. If they can meet all of these conditions, they receive certification that is valid for three years.
What does this mean for ship operators? Why should they choose approved service suppliers?
Ultimately, our services help establish mutual trust between shipping companies, operators, and suppliers. When a ship operator works with a DNV GL approved service supplier, they can rest assured knowing we have checked and verified everything in great detail, so they can rely on the information from their CM systems. And for certain applications, having properly implemented CM systems means we will remove the standard survey intervals of five years and even maker’s recommendations for periodic maintenance.
On the other hand, the service suppliers themselves also benefit from approval. During the process, we provide them with guidance on how to comply with the requirements. We’ve seen suppliers that have identified room for improvement after taking another look at their own processes and the way they deliver services. As a result, they can actually enhance the quality of their services during the process.