The use of the newly launched e-CMID, the online version of the International Marine Contractors Association's (IMCA) Common Marine Inspection Document (CMID), nearing the end of its first four weeks in operation, has exceeded all expectations. The online version is entirely free of charge to users, whether or not they are IMCA members.
"In the first 27 days we saw just over 500 users register," explains Hugh Williams, Chief Executive of IMCA. "From the three user groups, they represent 46 vessel operators, 39 clients, 35 combined operators/clients and 48 inspection companies (including 30 sole inspectors). The vessel operators account for 127 vessels so far. This is far beyond our expectations and demonstrates significant support and take-up for the new system, which includes the CMID online database.
"We are gratified that e-CMID and the CMID database were completed on time and on budget and are being put to such good use. We feel sure that the industry is benefiting from this service, for which, I emphasise, there is no charge to users anywhere in the world. This is something that surprises people, but of course safe and efficient operations are of prime importance to IMCA, to its members, and to the industry at large, and we strongly believe that e-CMID is an important step in achieving these goals.
"IMCA has always striven not to be in the middle of commercial relationships between vessel operators and their clients," he adds. "That is not our role. Our role is to facilitate safe and efficient marine operations by helping all of our members through a variety of means, but particular through publications of good practice guidelines and documents like the CMID.
"In this way the CMID, which has been in existence in hard copy form for nearly 10 years, is widely used and has done sterling work, but we have never known in detail its exact users nor been able to measure its use. Now that we have launched the e-CMID and the CMID report database that situation has changed. We do now have a measure, but it is important to stress that we still avoid being in the middle of this commercial relationship."
New service: New team member
The launch of the new CMID database and e-CMID has seen Gordon Kelly join IMCA to administer the system and support its users. Gordon joined the team as Database Administrator/Developer and was involved in the test programme for the system and development of a series of user guides. He studied computing science at university in Glasgow and comes from a software and database development background with experience of helpdesk and IT support. He will also assist in supporting the IMCA secretariat's IT network and with the development of both existing and new databases for the association.
"Early feedback Gordon has received indicates that there is a fourth user group out there: classification societies, regulatory bodies and ship-owners associations," explains Hugh Williams. "The database is structured to be flexible and we will shortly add in this a facility for this extra user as it is seen to be useful to the industry.