Condition surveys - More than just a binary conclusion


Published: 26 April 2022

Credit to: Hector Pertuz /

P&I condition surveys could be misconstrued in some instances as baggage which is part of being a member of an International Group club. Their value may be overlooked and condensed down to an outcome of a list of so-called 'defects' which will require to be rectified to the satisfaction of the association in question. Perhaps validating this perspective, the ability to perform such surveys is endorsed by the Rules of each association and into the International Group's too for that matter.

To frame a survey from this viewing point it is easy to see why this could be seen as an initiation ritual to be avoided where the narrative is defined solely by the club to find things wrong with the vessel in question.

We would however just ask you to continue reading, then pause for a moment and reflect on the below. We are not asking for your agreement or disagreement or to change your perspective, but simply to see another one.

To state that all surveys have the same outcome is an oversimplification of an activity which for us should never be a simple activity of finding fault. It is rather a value-added benefit, through a fresh pair of eyes and ears, to assess a vessel and an activity and which can evolve the surveyor from being a 3rd party on a vessel to a trusted and valued extension of the member's operation.

It is true to say that it is possible to survey a vessel with the purpose of composing a 'list of defects', the vast majority of which will be of a physical appearance. Perhaps there is oil in the engine room bilges or broken window wipers on the bridge. All of which tells a snapshot of a story from the ship's perspective but what value is it to everyone involved and is that the only story which can be told in this circumstance?

We believe there is more to condition surveys, something which elevates them above the routine, and which in fact is a potential for real meaningful acknowledgement of success and understanding.

These physical manifestations can all be fixed with relative ease but why are they like this in the first place? They are probably a result of something else happening, or not happening more to the point. This is the story which we want to hear. How do we try to hear as much of this story as possible?

Simply put, at every opportunity we attend our member's vessels ourselves, as technical managers of Skuld, and observe with our own eyes the stories told by not only the ship itself but the seafarers and shoreside staff entwined with it. We start to build an understanding and a closer, more personal relationship with both the ship, its seafarers and ultimately our member too. By celebrating and understanding their successes and taking the time to learn from these positive experiences, while at the same time allowing for negative outcomes to occur, our genuine curiosity helps us learn from all circumstances, both positive and negative.

We observe, ask questions, we listen to stories, we gain an unfiltered view into their world. Trust, honesty, and humility are vital to fruitful conversations and working relationships.

Observing and understanding beyond the ship and what it may or may not have done is fundamental to positively contributing to our members in a purposeful way.

Should collaboration stop at the vessel's rails? Skuld does not think so. We strive to be more for our members. This is only one of the tools in our Loss Prevention toolbox which helps us start to understand and support each member. Perhaps bespoke seminars or sharing of collective experiences can create unique solutions which will enhance positive outcomes and confidence. We believe the only bounds for our support is the imagination of each person who reads this open invitation for Skuld Loss Prevention to partner with them.

That is the ultimate outcome for us, to understand and become a trusted partner and collaborator to each of our members.