VeriSTAR Info, the Marine web-based tool
VeriSTAR is the group of technical solutions offered by the Bureau Veritas Marine Division. VeriSTAR Info has been its client-dedicated Web site since 1997. Octavio Rinaldi, Head of Knowledge Management for Ships In-Service, explains the VeriSTAR Info main features which are constantly being improved.
Q: What is the scope of Bureau Veritas class work?
OR: We have over 6,000 ships under Bureau Veritas classification and these vessels undergo regular surveys. Each ship's classification certificate is issued by Bureau Veritas and we also issue statutory certificates on behalf of flag authorities. Certification ensures conformity with Bureau Veritas rules and regulations and international conventions such as SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) and MARPOL (Maritime Pollution). Our work is ongoing and we are carrying out surveys on between 80 and 100 ships daily.
Q: How has information for ship owners changed?
OR: The only way to keep ship owners informed in the past was via a quarterly letter detailing the status of certificates and surveys. This information would include the certificate expiry date and the date planned for the next inspections. Survey reports used to be carried out using a paper check list, this is now handled electronically. The status of a vessel is a crucial piece of information for ship owners, managers and charterers. Ships may be turned away from ports or detained by the port authorities if certificates have expired or surveys are overdue.
Q: What are the key benefits of VeriSTAR Info?
OR: The site enables ship owners to check the status of their certificates and offers online updates. It also includes survey reports, copies of all certificates issued and all of the documentation included in the classification file. None of our competitors can offer this type of service and this gives us a clear competitive advantage. The site also describes VeriSTAR Hull, VeriSTAR Machinery, VeriSTAR Chemicals and VeriSTAR Offshore services.
We have added new features to the site. Clients can now request a survey to be carried out anywhere in the world. We contact the local Bureau Veritas teams who help set up everything and ensure all runs smoothly. And we can now provide class attestations for clients for insurance or resale purposes.
Certification of equipment and materials is also covered by this new version through the Equipment online section. This new service allows approved manufacturers to create their certificates for type-approved equipment on the site. Once these certificates have been approved by Bureau Veritas they can be printed off, thus saving time and money for both parties.
Q: What will clients find particularly useful on the site?
OR: The site is divided into two parts - a public section and a confidential section, available to clients with a password. The public part includes an online register that lists all the vessels we class. The Bureau Veritas rules and regulations, that must be adhered to for class to be assigned and maintained, are also available. This is another feature our competitors do not offer.
Ships built under Bureau Veritas class must be fitted with equipment and materials approved by Bureau Veritas. The list of approved products and approved equipment manufacturers is available on the public part of the site and is easy to consult. And the list of companies recommended by Bureau Veritas, namely thickness measurement and diving companies, is provided.
The site also includes statutory information that is regularly updated. Bureau Veritas sits on a wide range of committees and has easy access to new regulations released by the International Maritime Organization, the Maritime Safety Committee and the Marine Environment Protection Committee. Feedback from the different sessions held by these committees is available and may include our comments and advice.
We have also developed various software solutions, for Rules calculation, that can be downloaded by clients free of charge. For example we have created BULK, a program for the calculation of bulkheads, side frames and double bottom scantlings of bulk carriers. Another example is MARS 2000 for the calculation of scantlings of plating and ordinary stiffeners of any cross-section and transverse bulkheads.
Approximately 1,000 clients have passwords which represents between 60 and 70% of our fleet. Flag authorities also have access and they can view the status of all the ships sailing under their flag. Once a vessel has been surveyed we automatically send the information to the relevant flag authority.
I think that this new version really gives our clients and prospects a better understanding of our marine services and clearly demonstrates what Bureau Veritas can do for them.
Q: What are your future plans for VeriSTAR Info?
OR: Bureau Veritas intends to maintain a policy of continuous improvement of its IT tools and online services. A new version of VeriSTAR Info is already being developed and the confidential part will include:
These new features and more will bring VeriSTAR Info even closer to our clients and business partners.
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