This report provides a checklist to be used when carrying out inspections of barges intended for the transport of oil, chemicals and gases. It has been produced by representatives of oil and chemical companies and international inland transport companies to provide a consistent basis for such inspections and in order to enable easy interchange of information between companies.


Considerable efforts have been made to assure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in this publication. However EBIS cannot accept liability for any loss, damage or injury what so ever resulting from the use of this information.
This report does not necessarily represent the views of any company participating in EBIS.


The oil, petrochemical and chemical industries use tank barges for the transport of products along canals, rivers and estuaries. In general, these barges are not owned by the companies themselves but by independent owners/operators which range in size from a few owning large fleets down to individuals who own (and frequently master) a single barge.

Most companies have Environment, Health, Safety and Security Policies which are designed, not only to improve their own performance in these areas, but also to ensure that those providers of service who operate under contract to them work to comparable standards. The chemical companies have similar policies in order to conform to their ”Responsible Care” programme. As far as the hire of barges is concerned, these policies mean that the hirer has to assure himself that the barge to be hired is fit for purpose, conforms to all legislative requirements, and is operated in a safe manner to ensure protection of the environment and safety of both the crew and the general public.

This is normally achieved by carrying out pre-charter checks involving both a physical inspection and an audit of the barge and its written procedures. These checks may be conducted by company personnel or by authorized inspectors. They carry out the inspections to the specification of the charterer and the various companies may have differing specifications. This may mean that barges may be frequently inspected by a number of companies.

It was realized that if a common questionnaire specification could be developed, then companies could use a report prepared for another company and hence reduce the number of inspections to the advantage of both the charterers and the barge owners. It must be stressed that the inspection is only one source of information on which the charterer makes his decision on the acceptability of the barge. It is quite possible that one company could reject a barge which has been accepted by others if they put different weights on the importance of the various elements of the inspection.

The development of a common questionnaire was initially undertaken by a special task force set up under the auspices of CONCAWE. The task force was composed of representatives from oil and chemical companies. The most important goal of EBIS (European Barge Inspection Scheme) is to maintain the use of a common questionnaire for inspection reports and for those reports to be input into an inspection report exchange system. This questionnaire has been developed from the original CONCAWE version and is presented in four languages: Dutch, German, French and English.




This inspection report has been developed as part of the "Safety and Quality Assessment of Barge Operations and Management".
The questionnaire is designed to assist INSPECTORS to determine whether a barge complies with the relevant International, National and Local regulations in respect of responsible operation of the barge, safe operational practices and environmental protection.
Where pertinent, checklist items have been referenced to the relevant regulation and industry recommendations for analytical reasons.

Dumb barges can be manned or unmanned. The procedures (QHSSE-manual inclusive) are on board of the dumb barge or on the tug or are immediately available for the "shore team" who is responsible for the loading / discharging activities (including shifting) The captain or dumb barge skipper can be represented by a qualified office representative.

Read in the guidelines for Ebis inspectors also "shore team" where "crew" is mentioned.

Read in the guidelines for Ebis inspectors also "dumb barge" where "barge" is mentioned.

All questions in the inspection report must be answered, taking into account, as if the dumb barge would be fully operational (operational means loading/discharging/sailing/shifting).  This is also applicable for moored and unmanned dumb barges.

If the inspection is performed onboard a moored and unmanned dumb barge, the office representative attending the inspection, must explain in detail in which way the procedures and guidelines are available for the crew at the time. Ship documents, procedures and guidelines must be shown to the Ebis inspector during the inspection.


The inspector may only conduct an inspection when instructed by one of the EBIS members and must inform Captain/Owner/Operator about this EBIS member request.

Inspections should only be carried out in the full knowledge of the Captain or his deputy and with his co-operation.
Inspections may only be carried out after an appointment has been agreed with Captain/Owner/Operator, and only when all parties agree to the inspection.

It is preferred that Inspections carried out during daylight and the barges must be operational. On boarding the barge the inspector should report directly to the Barge Master in order to explain his intentions and objectives.  The Inspector shall show proof of his / her authority to carry out the inspection.

During the inspection of the barge, it is recommended that the inspector is accompanied at all times by a responsible person nominated by the Barge Master. The inspector should be an observer only and should not interfere, interrupt or become involved in the operation of the barge or be a party to any discussion between the barge and terminal, port authorities etc.
On completion of the inspection, the inspector will report to the Barge Master and explain / discuss with him the findings
of his inspection. The inspector will discuss, and leave with the Master or his representative, the Inspection Summary
together with appropriate references and a full copy of the report. The Master, or his representative, must always be given
the opportunity to comment on the list of observations and these comments must be recorded on the form.
This will give the opportunity to clarify questions which may have arisen in the course of the inspection (e.g. compliance
with ADN or other applicable regulations before he leaves the barge).


All questions need to be answered. Due to the modular approach of the system there are special questions which are only applicable for particular types of barges Gas barge (Type ”G”) or Chemical barges (Type ”C”). According to the type of barge which has been chosen by the inspector those questions will automatically be displayed. Hence most of the questions can clearly be answered ”YES” or ”NO”. In case a single question can’t be answered ”YES/NO”, is a NA possible.

Questions which are answered with NO, must be completed with an observation. After the report has been entered into the electronic database, the operator has the possibility to add comments to the observations made by the inspector.

Comments must be noted in agreed language and in the English language as well. When further clarification or additional information is needed to better clarify the inspector's findings, further explanation should be provided under "Owner comments" at the end of each section.

The "Inspection Summary" should reflect the findings and will include:

• A list of Negative and Not Applicable answers.

• Remarks

• Observations

It is the object of the inspection report to give an accurate assessment of the Barge and her Crew covering it's operations at the time of the inspection. The report does not attempt to pass or fail the barge for any particular activity.
The Summary should also state whether the barge is Loading, Discharging or Waiting.


The highest standards of ethical behavior are expected from EBIS Inspectors. This means in practice that the findings presented in an inspection report are to be regarded as strictly confidential and on no account should the Barge Inspector discuss the contents of the report with a third party .

The ownership of the report belongs to the EBIS organization. The inspector delivers a copy of the report to; Captain and/or Owner. An electronic version must be sent to the EBIS organization for databank purposes.

It is important that the inspector should not operate any equipment or advise on any operational or constructional matters or given any advice on how a particular deficiency might be dealt with. The Inspector may, however, request equipment to be run or operated under test. A courteous and considerate approach is expected of inspectors in all their dealings with the Barge Master and his crew.


The updating of the general technical information on a barge is the responsibility of the operator only. The inspector can use this information during his inspection. Any remark to this data will be discussed during the close out meeting with the Master or his substitute.


Any "not applicable" item met while inspecting a barge will be noted, explained and included in the remarks/summary.


The inspector is expected to demonstrate a constructive attitude. The Owner/Owner's Superintendent should not interfere with the inspection procedure.

The inspector is expected to set a good example with respect to his own safety procedures for the inspection of the barge since all the barge's safety procedures will be carefully assessed. The inspector should wear appropriate clothing including boiler suit, safety hat, safety shoes, life jacket and, if appropriate, safety gloves and glasses. Notices displayed on board the barge must be strictly adhered to.

The inspector may request the demonstration of a particular piece of equipment. Should the request be refused, then the question must be answered negative with a statement of the reason why. Both the Inspection Report and Summary must be signed by the Barge Master or his representative to indicate that he has received the duplicate copy. This signature does not, of course, infer that the Barge Master agrees with the observations in any way, but merely that he has received a copy.

The inspector shall not make in any way recommendations for improvement of observations, nor indicate to the Barge Master, the Barge Owner or his representative the outcome of the inspection. The inspection itself is not a pass or fail inspection and the result of the inspection is for consideration by an EBIS member

On completion of the inspection, the inspector should enter the Inspection Report immediately in the EBIS database. The inspector must indicate whether or not the report can be released immediately, by input of the Master or his representative. The operator can always decide to release the report earlier by adding operators comments and the ticking off the release box. In any event after a maximum of seven (7) calendar days the report will be automatically released.


Bunker barge: (ADN 1.2.1) A tank barge of type N-open, built and equipped for the transport and delivery of ship propulsion fuel to other ships/barges, with maximum deadweight of 300 ton
Dumb Barge: We can distinguish different types of dumb barges as there are:

1.     Self propelled dumb barges that have a Communautair Certificate (or equivalent) in which is mentioned the restrictions of the operational areas (in common restricted to anchorages or ports)

2.     Not self propelled dumb barges.


Operational: a barge completely in use and manned according to international, national and/or local regulation

New/Rebuild/Change conform ADN  (New-Rebuild-Changed N-R-C)
Spill Plate: A plate for spill containment (gutter bar) is a vertical steel plate fitted, on deck, at or close to the ship’s side of which the openings can be closed watertight. It should be able to contain a product spill of about 200 litres, independent of the trim of the vessel.

Operator: is the technical manager who’s QHSSE system is used on board the barge



EC Directive on Technical Requirements for Inland Waterways Vessels

ADN : Accord Europèen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par voie de Navigation intèrieure

CDNI:  Convention Relative a la collecte, au depot et a la reception des dechets survenant en navigation Rhenane et interieure

CEFIC: Conseil Europèen federation de l'industrie Chimique

CEVNI:  European Code for Inland Waterways
CONCAWE: Conservation of Clean Air and Water in Europe
EBIS: European Barge Inspection Scheme
EBU: European Barge Union (
ECDIS: Electronic Chart Display and Information System

EN 12798: Transport Quality Management System Inland Navigation Transport – Quality management system requirements to supplement EN ISO 9001 for the transport of Dangerous Goods with regard to safety.

EUROPIA: European Petroleum Industry Association (
(D)GPS: (Differential) Global Positioning System
ISGINTT:  International Safety Guide for Inland Navigation Tank-Barge and Terminals
NRC: New building-Rebuilding-Changes
QHSSE: Quality Health Safety Security Environment
SS: Stainless steel



Oil / Chemical / Gas Barge Inspection Questionnaire

The questionnaire consists of three parts, the Inspection Report, the Inspection Summary and the general technical information.
The questionnaire must be discussed with the Barge Master before leaving the barge after the inspection. The Barge Master may add comments in the Inspection Summary, which must then be signed by both the Inspector and the barge Master before the inspector leaves the barge.



REF Question - Number                                                  ITEM

REF Question - Number                                                  ITEM





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