What’s So Funny About ORB’s?

During the MAX1 conference Captain Tim Sullivan of Hornbeck Offshore sprung a surprise on us. His presentation dealt with Hornbeck’s very impressive efforts at improving MARPOL compliance and then towards the end of the presentation he mentioned that they needed to simplify their Oil Record Book guidance and therefore had handed all their stuff to a professional manual writer. He then held up a little booklet that looked quite familiar to us, but actually was a brand new version of a well known concept.

Hornbeck Offshore had commissioned Todd Brock (famous author of “Building Chicken Coops for Dummies”) and the Publisher John Wiley & Sons to produce “Oil Record Book for Dummies”!

This was nothing but a genius master stroke. The For Dummies books are designed to be non-intimidating and strive to reduce complex issues to its most basic components. Nothing can be more intimidating than an Oil Record Book and few things, in the end, become as complex as filling in an Oil Record Book. ORBFD steps right past those issues, keeps a friendly tone and basically compels the users to do the right thing and not to worry too much beyond that. The For Dummies book has basically condensed the entire issue to a 63 page 4” by 6” booklet.

When filling in an ORB, certain things absolutely need to be complied with and those issues are highlighted with little bomb logos. Then there are tips and those have little string on fingertip logos. Beyond that the booklet simply states that you should relax and that when you have questions you should talk to the office.

This guide should be all that is needed in a shipping operation that has good environmental culture, but best of all, its humorous presentation reminds everybody that once you have control of a subject there is little to fear.

Most of all, nothing must be more satisfying than keeping one of these guides aboard and to discuss the ORB with a Port State Control officer with the cover in plain sight. Contrary to popular belief, PSC officers would rather smile than frown too, and a little levity in keeping our oceans clean goes a long way.

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