Safety and quality
The ability to ensure safe fleet operations is one of the key success factors of any shipping company. As an industry leader, Sovcomflot commits itself to the principles of sustainable development, giving priority to the safety of navigation, environmental protection and maintaining a high quality service. Recognising its responsibility to the global community, Sovcomflot firmly adheres to the philosophy that Safety Comes First.
Sovcomflot works with world-class charterers, energy majors and leading traders who are known to be very protective of their reputation and very demanding in their selection of carriers. To meet customer expectations, the company strives to exceed standard requirements, as evidenced by the results of external inspections. The best proof of SCF Group’s high level of reliability and qualification as a carrier is the willingness of key customers to charter Sovcomflot vessels for extended periods, in some cases for up to 25 years or more.
In 2018, the average number of observations related to navigational safety and quality, made during inspections of Sovcomflot vessels by oil majors, was 2.39 per inspection. According to OCIMF, this is significantly better than the industry average (3.00).
The fleet is operated in accordance with an integrated safety management system (ISMS) based on the standard methods for ensuring the effective and safe technical operation of vessels and vessel equipment, approved under the International Safety Management Code (ISM Code), the ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards, the Ship Safety Management System based on the ISM Code, and meeting the requirements of the Flag Administration, and best industry practices.
Sovcomflot consistently works to improve its safety culture through introducing new procedures to maintain safe vessel operations. The company has adopted the TMSA3 standard (Tanker Management and Self Assessment), developed by OCIMF. A tanker shipowner that commits itself to this standard must continually declare its compliance with the charterers' requirements. The results of TMSA self-assessments are published on the OCIMF website where they are open to energy majors. Later, these results are confirmed by SIRE ship inspections and visits to the fleet operator offices by charterers’ representatives.
SCF Group steadily retains mid-positions in INTERTANKO’s rankings in terms of occupational health and safety indicators, which is a good result and confirms quality of management and compliance with high safety standards.
The Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) for the Group’s fleet in 2018 was 0.53, while the Total Recordable Case Frequency (TRCF) was 1.03, both figures being on par with the tanker industry average.
Sovcomflot’s good safety practice is based on augmenting Russian maritime traditions. Respect for knowledge and the experience accumulated over decades is becoming an undisputed competitive advantage. SCF has two in-house training centres in St. Petersburg and Novorossiysk that provide regular training and refresher courses to SCF crews and serve as unique resources for the professional development of marine personnel.
SCF Group conducts research on the features of Arctic shipping, provide support for innovative projects, and participate in discussions of industry regulations as part of working groups. To improve the safety and efficiency of ice escort operations in the Arctic, Sovcomflot together with Atomflot regularly conduct joint seminars for seagoing and onshore personnel. In addition, the company regularly takes part in meetings of the Maritime Safety Committee of the Russian Chamber of Shipping.
SCF Management Services (Dubai), the managers of Sovcomflot Group fleet, is certified by Green Award - an international environmental organisation that was the first in the world to introduce an environmental assessment system for ships based not only on the ship's technical characteristics, but also on the professional competence of the crew and management level. Sovcomflot Group has been participating in the Green Award scheme since 1996. Green Award auditors visit SCF's ships and offices annually. Obtaining approval requires that international conventional requirements governing navigation safety, quality and environmental protection are not just met, but substantially exceeded.
Navigational safety and occupational health and safety issues are considered at various levels of SCF Group management. The Board of Directors has set up the Committee for Innovative Development and Technical Policy, which conducts a preliminary review, analysis, and elaboration of recommendations on how the safety management system can be improved. Sovcomflot Executive Board has set up the Committee for the Safety of Navigation, Environmental Protection, Quality and New Technologies, which is responsible for establishing the areas, goals and objectives of the Group’s policy related to occupational health and safety.
Realising that navigational safety depends primarily on the skill levels within a ship’s crew, Sovcomflot is enhancing its cooperation with Russian maritime educational institutions by directly participating in the educational process, organising the programme of practical training at sea on an annual basis, and implementing targeted training programmes for young fleet officers. Specialists from SCF Group’s crewing offices select the most promising cadets into target groups at the Admiral Ushakov Maritime State University, Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping, and Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University – 20 cadets per institution. Cadets from the target groups are guaranteed employment with SCF fleet, while the employer benefits by gaining access to the best young talent.