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SIRE 2.0: Enhancing safety and addressing human factors in the tanker industry

The shipping industry, particularly the tanker sector, has undergone a significant transformation in terms of safety and inspection protocols with the implementation of the Ship Inspection Report (SIRE) programme. Recently, this initiative has been further refined and updated, resulting in the development of SIRE 2.0, which will officially be rolled out in Q3 of 2024.

SIRE 2.0, a digitised programme combining physical inspections with advanced tools, is poised to revolutionise how vessel quality and crew tasks are assessed. By adopting a risk-based approach and utilising advanced tools, strengthened governance processes, and more comprehensive reporting outcomes, SIRE 2.0 will provide more accurate reports and predict future performance more effectively, a crucial aspect for all stakeholders in the tanker industry.

SIRE 2.0 has significantly more emphasis on Human Factors. Vessel crews are relied on to perform all the important tasks, operations and maintenance on a vessel, and to spot problems and adapt to changing situations. That said, the crew will struggle to do this if the hardware doesn’t work well if procedures aren’t helpful or if there are conditions which make tasks more difficult to do. These are the human factors that SIRE 2.0 is watching out for, giving ships the opportunity to make the tasks they rely on to protect their vessel even more reliable and effective. This focus is a testament to our industry’s recognition that crew are at the heart of a well-operated vessel. SIRE 2.0 is designed to support this crucial aspect.

Why SIRE 2.0?

The SIRE programme has been essential for assessing risks and helping stakeholders make informed decisions based on comprehensive vessel inspections. As maritime operations are continually changing, a more nuanced approach that considers the condition of tankers and the conditions that support the performance of the crew operating them is necessary.

To address these evolving needs and challenges, SIRE 2.0 aims to provide a more holistic and accurate reflection of a vessel’s operational condition by incorporating advanced data analysis techniques and increasing the focus on human contribution to vessel operations. This approach is expected to significantly enhance the programme’s predictive capability, making it possible to detect and address the conditions that can lead to accidents.

How has SIRE 2.0 addressed Human Factors?

The release of SIRE 2.0 signifies a significant shift towards acknowledging the crucial role of crew in maritime operations. It provides better information on the effectiveness of important tasks on the vessel, as well as making it a less daunting experience for the crew being inspected.

Firstly, the focus of the inspection is on the reliability of the task and how an organisation has set the conditions for the task to be reliable rather than on the individuals being inspected. Inspectors do not expect textbook answers. Instead, inspectors work with crew, to talk-through or walk-through the important tasks as they would normally do them. The inspector is trained to observe those conditions that can make it easy or hard for a person to do their important tasks. For the first time SIRE 2.0 can also report when a vessel is exceeding expectations on a task.

Secondly, SIRE 2.0 has prepared inspectors for the inspection process, including training in Human Factors and non-technical skills. Non-technical skills include how to engage and put the crew at ease and how to have helpful conversations with the crew to gather information about the reliability of the task.

Finally, OCIMF has created helpful guidance material for crew, operating companies, owners, and those who will receive the SIRE 2.0 reports, explaining human factors and how companies and organisations can make the most of the new human factor information that SIRE 2.0 generates. This material is available at

Enhanced standards and support

The SIRE 2.0 programme has profound implications for the tanker industry. Firstly, it sets a high standard for operational excellence but is also completely open about what it takes to meet those standards. This transparent approach means that vessels that operate in accordance with SIRE 2.0 guidance can expect to achieve higher levels of operation, thus reducing the likelihood of accidents.

Secondly, SIRE 2.0 moves the industry from an exclusive focus on the competence of individuals towards how we design tasks and equipment to make it easier for seafarers to be successful. Companies can implement more effective and long-lasting safety measures by understanding and addressing the conditions that lead to mistakes and adaptations in work.

Finally, the enhanced focus on human factors will promote a culture of learning in the industry. SIRE 2.0 can be a mirror of the conditions in everyday operations that later become accidents and business interruptions, making inspection a valuable opportunity to learn and course-correct.

SIRE 2.0 will aim to analyse trends in inspection findings over time, aiding vessel operators – and, by extension, the entire industry – in identifying both common and emerging risks. Actions can be prompted when vessels are identified with deficiencies or areas needing improvement. With a question algorithm tailored to each vessel, these areas will be revisited in future inspections to verify improvements. This process enables operators to address issues across their fleets, enhancing safety and performance where necessary.

Digitalised inspections

Transitioning to a digitalised inspection regime aims to achieve seamless integration with the existing maritime data infrastructures. This fosters interoperability and efficient data sharing among stakeholders. Such standardisation promotes a more unified and cooperative approach to maritime safety and compliance on an international scale.

SIRE 2.0 is a significant advancement in the approach to tanker safety. By integrating human factors into its framework, the programme acknowledges our industry’s reliance on crews to perform essential tasks. SIRE 2.0 provides an opportunity to learn about the conditions that help or hinder crew carrying out these tasks, to make improvements to better support them, and so enhance maritime safety and success.

This proactive approach is expected to not only safeguard lives and property but also protect the marine environment from the potential risks associated with tanker operations. As such, SIRE 2.0 is a welcome step forward in the quest for a safer and more reliable tanker industry.

By: Aaron Cooper, Programmes Director at OCIMF

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