Offshore Vessel Inspection Database (OVID)

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OVID is a voluntary system of inspection where all inspections are posted to an online database created for the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) members and other bodies who have an operational interest in offshore marine activities. It is similiar in some respects to the tanker inspection regime SIRE being a database which gives members of OCIMF access to all vessel inspections. The inspection questions contain a combination of regulatory compliance and industry best practice. Vessels are inspected by accredited inspectors only and there is no self assessment as is sometimes conducted by vessel owners for the IMCA CMID. To become an inspector you have to attend the training course, however, you must receive a recommendation letter from a member of OCIMF and Inspectors can only inspect vessels of a type which they are accredited for. This information forms part of the database of inspectors. Certain operating companies are already making it compulsory for a vessel to have an OVID inspection before it is even considered to go on hire. The launch of OVID is the culmination of more than 2 years of work by an extensive group of oil company assurance practitioners, experienced offshore operatives, inspection companies and ship operators. The development process was completed in December 09 with a trial inspection of an anchor handler in Aberdeen

OVID Usage

Out of the 90 current members of OCIMF, there are over 7000 vessels registered with OVID representing over 1200 vessel operators. There are currently over 700 accredited OVID inspectors around the world having commissioned over 3900 vessel inspections. TOTAL has completely switched to an OVID system of inspection. Chevron and ADNOC have plans to switch to a complete OVID system in 2012. Saudi Aramco commenced inspections of Offshore Vessels in early April 2012. With over 100 vessels of various types in service in the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea, Saudi Aramco’s Marine Department will eventually have all its owned and chartered vessels in the OVID system. The Marine Department plans to make OVID participation mandatory for all new charters in 2013. The OVID inspection, once complete for a particular vessel, is valid for 1 year, however, it is up to the sole discretion of the OCIMF member to request further inspections. OCIMF recommends that, on average, a vessel receives 2 inspections per year.


Only OCIMF Members as charterers of offshore vessels (who have signed the terms of use) have access to the OVID database to enable them to download reports. OCIMF Members are only permitted to share OVID reports within their company; they are not permitted to share reports with 3rd parties. Reports cannot be shared because of the concern that competitors might gain information about other Owners/Operators vessels. These restrictions are based on external legal advice and 20 years experience of operating the SIRE database. Analogous restrictions also exist in SIRE for the same Anti Trust / Competition Law reasons.

Offshore Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (OVPQ)

The OVPQ is a document owned by the vessel / unit operator and is completed and updated as a ‘live’ document. It contains the records, certification and equipment for each vessel that the vessel owner has registered with OVID. Prior to a vessel inspection owners have to complete a Offshore Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (OVPQ). This is a large document which details vessel information including crew and vessel certificate status. One of the first questions that an inspector asks when he gets to the vessel is has the OVPQ been completed and is it valid. However, the OVPQ is not a prerequisite to having an inspection conducted. An OVPQ can be created using the OVPQ editor and the length of the questionnaire varies with the type of vessel operation that is involved. For instance, a vessel involved in Anchor Handling, Towing and Supply may have a different list of questions than a vessel involved in ROV operations. It can take up to 3-4 hours to completely fill an OVPQ depending on the type of vessel operation and the number of people dedicated toward acquiring the information. It is highly recommended to have a member of shore based management validate the OVPQ before it is uploaded into the system as incorrect data entry can cause some discomfort to the operator in the long run.

The OVPQ Sections are as follows:

  1. General Information
  2. Certification and Documentation
  3. Crew and Contractor Management
  4. Navigation
  5. Safety and Security Management
  6. Pollution Prevention and Environmental Management
  7. Structural
  8. Speciality Vessel/Unit Data
  9. Deck Equipment
  10. Communications
  11. Propulsion, Power Generation and Machinery
  12. Ice Operational Capability
  13. Helicopter Operations
  14. DP Capability and Systems
  15. Lift Boats / Jack-ups

An editable OVPQ is available which allows operators to send an OVPQ to their vessel either via email or on a memory stick, the crew can then fill in the OVPQ info and return it to the office for uploading to the OVID database. Vessel operators should verify that the information is correct prior to uploading the OVPQ.

Offshore Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (OVIQ)

The OVIQ is the inspection report containing 15 chapters, 19 operation types, 5 operational modes/ configurations and guidance for inspectors. The OVIQ questions are primarily designed to highlight operational practices and behaviour patterns; the management controls on board and from the ship operator’s office by sampling the effectiveness of the safety management system at that point in time. The observations are designed to extract a response from the ship operator as to how the issues raised will be managed. The questions are not just to create a list of priority corrective actions as determined by an inspector. A spot check is conducted after which the inspector then conducts the inspection using the Offshore Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (OVIQ) . The inspector does not raise findings, recommendations or provide corrective actions. The question set is specific to a vessel type and as such allow the answer to be yes – where no comments are required from the inspector. If he answers no then he must write a comment. He can also write yes with a comment. Once the inspection is complete the inspector writes his report on line and up loads on to the system. Where an OVID inspection has been carried out the Owner/Operator registered within OVID will receive an email to indicate that the report is ready for comment after it has been “validated” by the OCIMF member company. The Owner then has 14 days to comment on the report after which the report becomes live and is available to be read – even if the owner has not commented on the report. Once the 14 day timeline has elapsed, the owner cannot edit his initial comments. The Owner/Operator has up to 12 months to make a second set of comments, for example, if a defect was repaired 1 month after in drydock, he can log into the system and indicate such as a supplementary comment. It is the policy of OCIMF that completed OVIQ reports cannot be forwarded to third parties without the sole permission of the OCIMF.

OVID Inspectors

There are minimum qualifications before one can become an OVID Inspector. That person must possess qualifications of a Master Mariner, Chief Engineer or Class/Warranty Surveyor with Minimum 3 years in command of an Offshore Vessel. Class/Warranty Surveyor must possess a minimum 3 years in the offshore industry. At the moment, the cost for OVID training is 800 GBP per individual. Employees of Vessel Operators are not permitted to become OVID Inspectors. Candidates without experience in Offshore Vessels generally may not be considered although this is at the discretion of the OCIMF. During the inspection process, the OVID inspector will look at a "snapshot" of the management system onboard the vessel as well as how shore management interacts and deals with problems that arise. For instance, if there are a lot of open Non-Conformances on file, without any response or correspondence from management, then this is immediately indicative to the inspector that the management support may be inadequate. OVID Inspectors will be required to complete (2) OVID inspections per annum starting January 1st, 2014. This is an increase from the one (1) inspection currently required.

OVID Refresher Course

To be eligible to attend an OVID refresher course one must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be within 12 months of your OVID expiry date
  2. Have completed at least one (1) OVID inspection prior to taking the refresher course
  3. The course is 2 days long and an exam must be completed and passed at end of course to maintain accreditation.

Offshore Vessel Management Self Assessment (OVMSA)

The OVMSA programme is a voluntary tool to help operators of offshore vessels to assess, measure and improve their management systems. These systems encompass all activities undertaken by the company including technical, operational, personnel, HSE and security management, both on-board and ashore. The programme encourages vessel operators to assess their safety management systems against listed key performance indicators (KPIs) and provides best practice guidance. Best practice is an effective way to minimise the possibility of problems reoccurring. It creates opportunities and optimises performance in crucial areas, such as safety and environmental excellence. Companies can aim to transfer best practices across their fleet through the consistent application of improved processes and procedures. The standard OCIMF OVID web site login credentials will give full access to OVMSA through the existing OCIMF website. Seven companies have already completed the OVMSA in the following assessment areas:

  1. Management, Leadership and Accountability
  2. Recruitment and Management of Shore-based personnel
  3. Recruitment and Management of Vessel personnel
  4. Reliability and Maintenance Standards
  5. Navigational Safety
  6. Offshore Operations
  7. Management of Change
  8. Incident Investigation and Analysis
  9. Safety Management (Shore and Fleet Monitoring)
  10. Environmental Management
  11. Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Planning
  12. Measurement, Analysis and Improvement

When TMSA was initiated by OCIMF in 2004 it was quickly adopted by oil major vetting groups as the key indicator when determining suitable operators of tankers acceptable for charter. TMSA is still the key measure used today. By introducing similar guidelines for offshore vessel operators one can expect that OVMSA will shortly be used as the measuring tool used by oil major vetting groups to identify and select acceptable operators in the offshore industry. Operators will be expected to have management systems in place which conform to at least OVMSA Stage 1 if they wish to be acceptable for oil major charters; those that do not meet this standard may find themselves at a commercial disadvantage. 18 operators have completed their OVMSA online report. There are 81 operators who have started work on the OVMSA but have not yet completed it (unprocessed).

OVID Focus Group

The OVID Focus Group was set up to receive direct feedback from its Members, Operators and Inspectors; the feedback from this meeting is fed directly into the OVID Focus Group who oversee OVID. OVID focus groups are held bi-annually.


Alex Vandusen - Offshore Marine Advisor -

Aziz Benbelkacem - OVID Contracts Manager-


There is a monthly OVID newsletter which contains the activity of the OVID team, monthly statistics for number of vessels in the OVID database, number of OVPQs uploaded and number of inspections requested. The most recent copy of the newsletter can be found on the OVID website

OVID on Linkedin

An OVID page exists on Linkedin as well as a group for OVID accredited inspectors The forum is intended to share the experience of the inspectors that have been performing audits based on the OVID regime.


OVID guidelines for Implementation version 2

Instructions for using the OVPQ editor

OVID website

IAGC - OGP Global HSE Forum - OVID

Marine Safety Forum - OVID

Chevron Presentation - OVID

Sample Operator Responses to Inspection

OVMSA User Manual

Maritrain article

Ship inspection article


1. Andre Persad, HSEQ Manager, P&O Maritime.

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