ISM stands for the International Safety Management Code, which is a set of international guidelines and regulations aimed at ensuring the safe operation of ships and the prevention of marine pollution. The ISM Code was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and is mandatory for all ships engaged in international voyages, including merchant vessels, passenger ships, and offshore drilling units. The main objectives of the ISM Code are to establish safety management objectives and to require a safety management system (SMS) to be implemented by shipping companies and ship operators.
Explain ISM and its certificates
Here’s a breakdown of ISM and its related certificates, validity, and issuance process:
ISM Code Certificates:
– Document of Compliance (DOC): The Document of Compliance is issued to a shipping company or ship operator after a thorough audit and assessment of their safety management system. It demonstrates that the company’s SMS complies with the ISM Code and is effectively implemented across their fleet.
– Safety Management Certificate (SMC): Each individual ship in a company’s fleet is issued a Safety Management Certificate after an onboard audit verifies that the ship is adhering to the company’s SMS and the ISM Code requirements. The SMC is vessel-specific and serves as evidence of compliance.
– Document of Compliance (DOC): The DOC is valid for a period of five years but is subject to annual verification and intermediate verification audits. Renewal is possible upon successful reevaluation and compliance.
– Safety Management Certificate (SMC): The SMC is also initially valid for five years but requires annual and intermediate verification audits to ensure continued compliance. Like the DOC, it can be renewed upon successful reevaluation.
3. Issuance Process of ISM Certificates
– Application: A shipping company or ship operator interested in complying with the ISM Code must first apply for a Document of Compliance. This involves submitting documentation related to their safety management system, policies, procedures, and responsibilities.
– Initial Audit: Once the application is received, an initial audit is conducted by a recognized ISM auditor or classification society to assess the company’s SMS against ISM Code requirements.
– Issuance of DOC: If the company’s SMS is found to be in compliance with the ISM Code, a Document of Compliance is issued.
– Onboard Audit: For each individual ship in the company’s fleet, an onboard audit is conducted to verify the implementation of the SMS and compliance with ISM Code requirements.
– Issuance of SMC: If the ship successfully passes the onboard audit, a Safety Management Certificate is issued for that specific vessel.
– Periodic Audits: To maintain the validity of both the DOC and SMC, annual and intermediate verification audits are conducted to ensure continued compliance with the ISM Code.
The ISM Code and its associated certificates are crucial for enhancing the safety and environmental performance of the shipping industry. They provide a structured framework for identifying and managing risks associated with maritime operations, ultimately contributing to safer seas and reduced marine pollution. Compliance with the ISM Code is a legal requirement, and failure to meet its standards can lead to penalties and sanctions.