Updated guidance on closing meetings

Published 5 October 2023

The following extract from the recently updated eCMID system guidance and inspection templates has been circulated to all accredited vessel inspectors (AVIs).

IMCA’s internal quality assurance process on vessel inspection reports has highlighted that, in many instances, vessel inspection closing meetings were clearly not being carried out as expected.

Consequently, we have introduced further guidelines within IMCA M 167 and the eCMID and eMISW templates regarding the protocol for holding and documenting these crucial formal meetings. A copy is shown below.

Closing Meeting

A closing meeting must be held to present the inspection findings and conclusions.

The closing meeting should be chaired by the inspector and attended by the vessel master and the appropriate heads of department, in addition to other interested parties as determined by the master, e.g. Chief Officer, Chief Engineer, Chief Steward, etc.

The closing meeting should be formal, and minutes, including records of attendance, should be completed (template available in the eCMID Inspection App in the Summary section) and submitted with the final inspection report (enter text or upload as an image file).

As appropriate, the following should be explained to the closing meeting attendees:

a) advising that the inspection evidence collected was based on a sample of the information available and is not necessarily fully representative of the overall effectiveness of the vessel’s processes;

b) the method in which the report will become available, i.e. eCMID database;

c) presentation of the inspection findings and conclusions in such a manner that they are understood and acknowledged by the vessel’s management;

Any diverging opinions regarding the inspection findings or conclusions between the inspector and the vessel management team should be discussed and, if possible, resolved. If not resolved, this should be recorded in the closing meeting minutes. All such information must be documented factually with no subjectivity.

The inspector should note that the closing meeting is not a forum to accept or agree on any corrective actions or responses to the findings. The Inspector should advise the vessel master that the responses or corrective actions to inspection findings are to be managed as per the vessel’s safety management system. The vessel operator should provide responses on the eCMID database as appropriate.

For further information on closing meetings, refer to ISO 19011.