The Thome Group has successfully undergone a series of remote audits with DNV GL in various locations due to the widespread lockdown restrictions across the globe.
Thome Mumbai office’s annual ISO 9001:2015 audit was performed online using video conferencing software which enabled document sharing and discussions to take place to verify that all requirements had been met. This was the first remote inspection that Thome had carried out and, because of its successful conclusion, it encouraged the Group to use the digital option for other audits as well.
So, when the annual Document of Compliance (DOC) surveys were due for Thome Ship Management, Thome Shipping and Thome Offshore Management, the remote option was the obvious choice.
DNV GL in Singapore co-ordinated the audits with relevant Thome personnel in each of the aforementioned companies and the Hong Kong, Liberia and Marshall Islands Flags also had representatives present to remotely witness the audit. This is currently the largest remote annual DOC audit performed by DNV GL´s Singapore office.
Taking the lessons learnt from the above audits, Thome decided to develop its own remote vessel internal audit procedures to ensure its managed vessels were not only compliant under ISM Ch.12.1 requirements, but also, to ensure that its management systems were verified to be effectively implemented, despite the COVID-19 restrictions.
Thanks to the efforts of Thome’s Quality Assurance, Marine & Safety and IT departments along with co-operation from one of Thome’s managed vessels, methods such as teleconferencing, screen sharing to demonstrate usage of onboard systems and documents and sharing of photos and videos to verify the physical condition onboard, were all employed to complete a successful audit which has meant that remote internal auditing is now being rolled out to the entire fleet.
“I am really pleased how our teams both onboard and in our offices, have worked with our class and flag partners to find ways to share information remotely to allow surveys and audits to take place during the lockdown restrictions. All parties have taken a very pragmatic and practical approach to satisfy regulatory requirements using digital technology. I think that once lockdown restrictions are eased, we may see the continuation of remote audits and inspections as they are proving to be an efficient use of everyone’s time and energy which is advantageous for everyone concerned,” said Claes Eek Thorstensen, Thome Group’s President and CCO.