The Thome Group reports that it has successfully undergone a series of online remote audits using video conferencing, screen sharing, and document exchange software to ensure continued regulatory compliance across its vessel and office network during travel restriction periods.
The shipping company worked with classification society DNV GL to connect with various locations across the globe, starting with the Thome Mumbai office’s annual ISO 9001:2015 audit.
The audit of the Mumbai office 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 carried out, and its success encouraged the Group to explore the use of digital options for a wider range of audits. Consequently, the company decided to employ remote digital options to conduct the annual Document of Compliance (DOC) surveys for Thome Ship Management, Thome Shipping and Thome Offshore Management as they came due.
DNV GL in Singapore co-ordinated the audits with relevant Thome personnel in each company, with representatives from the Hong Kong, Liberia and Marshall Islands Flags also present to remotely witness the process.
This is currently the largest remote annual DOC audit to have been performed by DNV GL´s Singapore office, the class society said.
Thome’s next step was to develop its own remote vessel internal audit procedures, to confirm 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 COVID-19 restrictions.
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 the audit.
Thome says that it has been extremely satisfied by the results of this remote access project, to the extent that it has taken the decision to roll out remote internal auditing to its entire fleet.
“I am really pleased how our teams, both on board 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,” said Claes Eek Thorstensen, Thome Group’s President and CCO.
“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.”