Offshore Vessel Management and Self Assessment (OVMSA)

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This programme has been developed as a 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 and HSE, 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 should aim to transfer best practices across their fleet through the consistent application of improved processes and procedures.

It is recognised that non-SOLAS vessels operate outside the ISM Code. However, operators of such vessels may use this Guide as a tool to measure and improve their operations. A company that incorporates the guidelines contained in the OVMSA into its management system may be considered as having an active assessment process, even if it does not have ISM as a management system.


Section 1 The Quality System (OVMSA) and Guidelines 
1.1 Continuous Improvement 
1.2 About the OVMSA Guidelines 
1.3 OCIMF Guidance for Measuring a Company’s Management System Status 
1.4 Use of this Guidance Document by Industry 
1.5 Completion and Submission of the OVMSA Report 
Section 2 The 12 Elements of the OVMSA Guidelines 
Element 1 Management, Leadership and Accountability 
Element 2 Recruitment and Management of Shore-Based Personnel 
Element 3 Recruitment and Management of Vessel Personnel 
Element 4 Reliability and Maintenance Standards 
Element 5 Navigational Safety 
Element 6 Offshore Operations and the Management of Contractors 
Element 7 Management of Change 
Element 8 Incident Investigation and Analysis 
Element 9 Safety Management 
Element 10 Environmental Management
Element 11 Emergency Preparedness and Contingency Planning
Element 12 Measurement, Analysis and Improvement


The Offshore Vessel Management and Self Assessment (OVMSA) programme offers a standard framework for the assessment of a vessel operator’s management systems.

The programme provides vessel operators with guidelines that contain the elements of a formal management system that are essential for the management and operation of their vessels.

To be effective, a management system needs to be much more than just procedures. The company leadership/management should define the company’s values and aspirations and detail how the company intends to achieve the objectives of their stated policies. Management must also provide adequate resources to ensure that the vessels are properly managed, crewed, operated and maintained by well-trained, competent personnel.

In an effective system, incidents and near misses are investigated to determine root causes and corrective actions are implemented to prevent reoccurrence. Hazards and risks are systematically identified and assessed to ensure that risk exposure is effectively managed and considered at appropriate levels of management. There is a system to manage change and quantifiable indicators are used to measure the system’s effectiveness and facilitate continuous improvement.

OVMSA contains these elements and provides a structure to help vessel operators assess and modify their management systems to improve overall performance beyond that required by minimum compliance with statutory requirements. OVMSA also provides the industry with useful information presented in a uniform format.


Title: Offshore Vessel Management and Self Assessment (OVMSA)
Subtitle: A Best Practice Guide for Offshore Vessel Operators
Number of Pages: 80
Product Code: WS1366K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-532-7 (9781856095327), ISBN 10: 1-85609-532-0 (1856095320)
Published Date: April 2012
Binding Format: Hardback
Book Height: 300 mm
Book Width: 215 mm
Book Spine: 10 mm
Weight: 0.70 kg
Author: Oil Companies International Marine Forum