CAP - Condition Assessment Programs

CAP inspections on the rise

Sep. 28 2020 - 5 min

Condition Assessment Program studies are giving charterers a boost and offering LNG carrier owners a special chance to stand out from today’s fierce competition.

The maritime industry is constantly working to improve safety and minimize the risk of operational failure. For charterers, this is particularly important, as a single incident can greatly damage their credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of the public.

To help protect charterers from taking on high levels of risk when chartering older trading ships, the maritime industry developed the Condition Assessment Program (CAP). CAP studies verify the safety and structural integrity of oil and chemical tankers, gas carriers and bulk carriers over 15 years of age, ensuring they are fit for purpose.

How a CAP study works

CAP studies begin with a preliminary assessment that outlines any upgrades needed for a vessel to meet charterer requirements. Clients can then take a modular approach to the vessel survey, deciding which areas of their ship to inspect, assess and report on. Visual examinations, steel thickness measurements and function testing can be performed on the hull, cargo equipment, propulsion system, machinery. For gas carriers, cargo containment systems can also be inspected.

Once the study is complete, ship owners receive a full report with photographs detailing maintenance and operational condition. The report may also include a structural and fatigue analysis based on charterers’ requirements (e.g., “as measured thickness” for extremely high-quality structural evaluations).

Unlike other evaluations, CAP studies have no period of validity: they are a snapshot of the vessel’s condition at a given point in time. Vessel condition is assessed using a scale of 1 to 4, with CAP 1 indicating superior condition and CAP 4 indicating poor condition. Charterers generally expect vessels to achieve a rating of CAP 1 or CAP 2 to qualify for use.

Changes for LNG carriers

As of 2019, the Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) changed a key question about the CAP status of LNG carriers. Previously, CAP studies were not required until an LNG carrier had reached 20 years of age. Now the question is being asked for vessels after just 15 years.

While not a mandatory requirement, this presents an insight into what charterers would like to see, and therefore an opportunity for LNG carriers to stand out from the competition. By undergoing a CAP study after 15 years, LNG carriers may improve their chances of being selected by charterers during contract negotiations.

The future of CAP

In the coming years, the demand for CAP studies will certainly rise, as more tankers, bulk carriers and gas carriers reach 15 years of age. Bureau Veritas Solutions – Marine & Offshore is helping shipowners undertake CAP studies for their vessels in a way that is flexible and adapted to their needs. Our experts are providing CAP surveys for both BV-class and non-BV-class vessels worldwide, helping ensure safety and compliance with charterer requirements.