Although oil tankers require rigorous inspections twice a year so as to reduce the risk of oil spills or mechanical collapse with polluting cargoes onboard, physical visits onboard vessels are difficult to occurred due to the pandemic.
According to Reuters, in case that ships visits' restrictions stay in place towards the final quarter of the year, tankers may be unable to store oil or sail until repairs can be carried out.
As a result, this could drive up freight rates for shipping and storage, as fewer vessels will be seaworthy.
"If the crew or master does not feel safe with anyone coming onboard then you cannot put an inspector onboard" told to Reuters, Rob Drysdale, a director with the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) association.
In light of the above, remote surveys through live streaming, are taking place. In fact, the vessel's captain along with the crew walk around a vessel to specific areas for checks, drawing on previous inspection reports that have marked issues.
At the moment virtual inspections buys time, especially as many vessels in the global fleet are ageing. Remote surveys can also take longer and require weeks of work to process versus a few days for an on-site inspection.