Vetting and clearance

Vessel clearance

All vessels and terminals interacting with any BP asset must be approved through the BP Shipping vetting teams.

The V&C team supports those parts of BP that employ third party vessels by ensuring that those vessels meet all BP Shipping marine assurance requirements.

V&C Superintendents are located in the countries where BP carries out most of its chartering activities.

Vessels are screened against the latest SIRE inspection carried out by BP, as well as the owner's profile, terminal and operational feedback, market intelligence, casualty data, Port State Control inspections and any other information held by the V&C team at that time. Depending on the circumstances, a SIRE inspection carried out by another OCIMF (Oil Companies' International Marine Forum) member company could be considered as part of the screening process.

When a vessel is proposed for BP business, unless otherwise notified, the vessel must have a current operational Sire inspection report that is less than 6 months old. BP Sire inspections will be carried out on vessels where there is added value and increased assurance to BP. 

At the time of the screening of the vessel the owner’s profile, terminal and operational feedback, market intelligence, casualty data, Port State Control inspections for the vessel are scrutinised by the V&C team.

Additional BP requirements include a 'high risk' observation list utilised to identify issues of serious concern.

BP Shipping's Audit & Inspection (A&I) team helps the V&C team ensure that sufficient inspection data is available to provide safe shipping solutions for all BP group marine activity. The A&I team is based in Sunbury-upon-Thames, with regional offices in Houston, Singapore, Melbourne and Shanghai. It receives and processes all SIRE inspection requests submitted through this site.

The A&I team manages a large core of SIRE accredited inspectors located in major shipping hubs around the globe.

Contact Us

For specific queries, please contact us through the relevant questionnaires. For all other queries, the global team can be contacted at

All hard copy correspondence should be addressed to:

Global Vetting & Clearance Manager
BP Shipping Ltd
20 Canada Square
London E14 5NJ
United Kingdom

SIRE inspections

The industry-agreed Oil Companies' International Marine Forum (OCIMF) SIRE inspection format is used as the main ship inspection tool.

Inspectors are asked to report on all vessel or operational deficiencies, and to detail both positive and negative comments on the vessel's operations. The deficiencies are identified in an Observations List that is left with the Vessel’s master at the end of each inspection.

Vessels with SIRE  inspection findings cannot be used until all observations have been closed-out and the vessel is found suitable for BP operations by a V&C Superintendent.

Each SIRE inspection report issued by an inspector is reviewed by a V&C Superintendent before it is released to the ship’s managers via the SIRE programme. This process ensures inspection standards are maintained and closely monitored.

BP Shipping employs the OCIMF SIRE inspection format (VIQ) as the vessel inspection tool for all third party hydrocarbon carrying vessels. 

All inspections carried out under the SIRE system are submitted to OCIMF SIRE database. Every SIRE report issued by a BP SIRE inspector is reviewed by a V&C Superintendent prior to its release to the vessel manager via the OCIMF SIRE programme. This process ensures SIRE inspection standards are maintained and closely monitored.

Barges and other vessel types may follow a different protocol approved by BP Shipping.

Following the successful close-out of a BP SIRE inspection report by a V&C Superintendent, the DOC holder will be advised. This advice does not constitute blanket approval of the vessel for BP business or for BP group terminals or facilities. Vessels will be screened on each occasion they are tendered for BP business or want to call at one of our terminals or facilities.

Pre-inspection enquiries and information on inspections already requested should be addressed to

Post-inspection enquiries should be sent to the V&C Superintendent in charge of that inspection report, or to

Structural assurance

Oil, chemical and LPG Tankers greater than 20,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt) must hold a Condition Assessment Programme (CAP) 2 rating or better. This is required after reaching 15 years of age or by the end of the 3rd Special Survey, whichever is earlier.

LNG vessels must also hold a CAP 2 rating or better, to be gained after reaching 20 years of age or by 4th Special Survey, whichever is earlier.

The maximum period of validity of a CAP rating is three years from the last day of the CAP survey. CAP ratings and reports issued by Lloyd's Register, Det Norske Veritas, American Bureau of Shipping, Bureau Veritas, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, Germanischer Lloyd, Registro Italiano Navale, Korean Register of Shipping and the China Classification Society are acceptable, providing they include fatigue analysis and have been assessed by the BPS A&I team.

For more information contact

Management of change

Owner Assessment Processes

Owner or Operating (Technical and Safety) Managers may be assessed through the BP Company Assessment (BPCA) process, which provides an assessment of their safety management system. The elements of the Tanker Managers Self-Assessment tool developed by OCIMF are used as the guiding protocol in this assessment, which includes a visit by BP Shipping auditors to the offices of the Owner or Operating Manager.

Management of change

A Management of Change Questionnaire (MCQ) is used to assess the level of experience and competency of staff that will be operating the vessel following a change of owner/manager. Typically, an MCQ is used when the change of management is from one acceptable company to another of similar status.

Inert Gas Systems (IGS) and Closed operations

IGS must be operational and in use if required under legislation. If a vessel is fitted with IGS, it must be operational and in use unless it affects the stability, safe carriage or quality of a cargo. Closed Operations must be maintained during loading, carriage and discharge of all toxic and/or volatile cargoes.

Officer requirements

BP Shipping has specific pre-joining training and management of change procedures in place to ensure officer matrix requirements are covered by extensive training and familiarisation process.

Use of CDI reports

BP Shipping does not use CDI reports in its vessel screening process

Age limitations

BP Shipping will not charter oil or chemical tankers more than 20-years-old if those vessels are larger than 5,000 dwt. For vessels less than 5,000dwt, and for LPG carriers, the age limit is 25 years. An upper age limit of 40 years applies to LNG carriers.

Certain vessels may not be used in BP service, including combination carriers more than 15-years-old and vessels using hydrostatic balanced loading.

Hull configuration

All deep sea vessels over 600 dwt must be double hulled. Vessels over 600 dwt used on inland waterways are required to be double hulled when carrying persistent oils. All inland waterway vessels over 600 dwt and carrying flammable or hazardous cargo must be double hulled from January 1 2015.

New builds

A New Build Questionnaire (NBQ) process may be used to gain assurance of safe operations up to three months after delivery. The purpose of a NBQ is to gather information about the management and manning of a vessel that is not yet operational, or has not yet received an operational inspection. An operational SIRE inspection must be completed within three months of delivery.

Location clearance

The V&C team provides location clearances for proposed downstream hydrocarbon transfer operations, to ensure that owned and chartered vessels used by the BP Group and presented for port clearance comply with known requirements at nominated berths, mooring terminals and/or ports and can, as far as possible, be safely accommodated.

All third party terminals proposed for a BP transfer operation should provide a copy of the terminal handbook to the regional V&C office. Please contact the team at

Where appropriate, a BP Marine Terminal Assessment (BPTA) would be carried out to ascertain compliance with BPS minimum requirement for Ship/Shore interface. The Terminal Assessment evaluates a terminal’s operational and safety performance against the OCIMF Marine Terminal Management and Self-Assessment (MTMSA).  

BP Shipping invites Masters to send feedback on any terminals they visit through the online form Vessel feedback on terminal form.

Where changes that affect the Ship/Shore interface are implemented within a Terminal, BP Shipping should be informed by e-mail through Terminals should also submit details of their Ship/Shore interface by filling in a Berth Questionnaire and Port UKC questionnaire.

Terminals are encouraged to provide both positive and negative feedback on vessels that call at their terminal while involved in BP operations. The V&C team will use this feedback to support safe and efficient operations.

Vessel feedback by terminals should be provided by filling in the Terminal feedback on Vessels form.

Data is also gathered from owners, operators and masters of vessels calling at terminals through the use of a Vessel feedback on terminals questionnaire submitted by Masters of vessels carrying out transfer operations.

The Audit & Inspection team carries out Marine Terminal Compliance Assessment. This is conducted by one or two BP Shipping auditors with the consent of the terminal, and takes the form of a standard questionnaire based on the OCIMF Minimum Baseline Criteria for Marine Terminals.

The audit protocol involves briefings, a tour of the facility and feedback after the audit. Potential risks are identified and recommendations made for risk mitigation. More than 50 standards are defined in the Audit protocol covering areas such as security, port operations, moorings, environmental and fire protection, emergency preparedness, structural surveys and operations at buoy moorings.

A request for this assessment should be submitted through the terminal assessment request form.

The Audit & Inspection team also carries out Ship/Shore Interface Training on request. This training is a three-day programme for personnel employed at the ship/shore interface, such as jetty supervisors and operators, marine managers and ship operators. Requests for this training should be sent to