The International Safety Management (ISM) system code is a set of rules and standards that aim to ensure the safe operation of ships and the prevention of pollution. The ISM system was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1993 and became mandatory for all ships in 1998.
The ISM system requires ship owners and operators to establish, implement and maintain a Safety Management System (SMS) that covers all aspects of their activities and ships. The SMS should be based on a risk assessment and should include policies, procedures, responsibilities, resources, objectives, performance indicators, audits, reviews and corrective actions.
The main purpose of the ISM system is to provide a framework for managing safety and environmental risks in a systematic and proactive way. The ISM system also aims to foster a safety culture among the personnel on board and ashore, and to enhance communication and cooperation between them.
International Safety Management (ISM) Code
– Improved safety performance and reduced accidents, injuries and fatalities
– Reduced environmental damage and compliance with legal and other requirements
– Increased efficiency and effectiveness of operations and maintenance
– Enhanced reputation and customer satisfaction
– Reduced costs and liabilities
The ISM system is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a flexible and adaptable approach that can be tailored to the specific needs and characteristics of each organization and ship. The ISM system also encourages continuous improvement and learning from experience.
The ISM system is monitored and verified by external audits conducted by flag States or recognized organizations (such as classification societies) authorized by them. The audits verify that the SMS meets the requirements of the ISM Code and that it is effectively implemented. The audits also identify any non-conformities or areas for improvement. The successful completion of an audit results in the issuance of a Document of Compliance (DOC) for the company and a Safety Management Certificate (SMC) for each ship.
The ISM system is not only a legal obligation, but also a good practice that can help ship owners and operators to achieve higher standards of safety and environmental protection. The ISM system can also provide a competitive edge in the maritime industry, as it demonstrates a commitment to quality and excellence.
The International Safety Management (ISM) Code is a set of standards and guidelines for the safe operation of ships and the prevention of pollution. It was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1993 and became mandatory for certain types of ships in 1998. The ISM Code aims to foster a safety culture within the shipping industry by requiring companies to establish a safety management system (SMS) that covers all aspects of their activities.
The ISM Code consists of 16 chapters
1. General: This chapter defines the objectives, scope and application of the ISM Code, as well as some key terms and concepts.
2. Safety and environmental protection policy: This chapter requires companies to define and document their commitment to safety and environmental protection, and to communicate it to all personnel.
3. Company responsibilities and authority: This chapter specifies the responsibilities and authority of the company, including the appointment of a designated person ashore (DPA) who has direct access to senior management and acts as a link between the company and the ship.
4. Designated person(s): This chapter describes the role and responsibilities of the DPA, who is responsible for monitoring the safety and environmental performance of the company and ensuring the effective implementation of the SMS.
5. Master’s responsibility and authority: This chapter outlines the role and responsibilities of the master, who has overriding authority and responsibility for making decisions concerning safety and environmental protection on board.
6. Resources and personnel: This chapter requires companies to provide adequate resources and qualified personnel for the safe operation of their ships, and to ensure that they are properly trained, motivated and familiar with their duties.
7. Development of plans for shipboard operations: This chapter requires companies to establish procedures, plans and instructions for key shipboard operations that affect safety and environmental protection, and to ensure that they are followed.
8. Emergency preparedness: This chapter requires companies to identify potential emergency situations and prepare contingency plans to respond effectively to them.
9. Reports and analysis of non-conformities, accidents and hazardous occurrences: This chapter requires companies to establish procedures for reporting, investigating and analyzing non-conformities, accidents and hazardous occurrences, and to implement corrective actions to prevent recurrence.
10. Maintenance of the ship and equipment: This chapter requires companies to establish procedures for ensuring that their ships and equipment are maintained in conformity with relevant rules and regulations, and that any defects are reported and rectified.
11. Documentation: This chapter requires companies to maintain a set of documents that describe their SMS and provide evidence of its implementation.
12. Company verification, review and evaluation: This chapter requires companies to conduct internal audits, management reviews and external verification of their SMS to ensure its effectiveness and continual improvement.
13. Certification, verification and control: This chapter describes the process of obtaining a document of compliance (DOC) for the company and a safety management certificate (SMC) for each ship, as well as the role of flag States, port States and recognized organizations in verifying compliance with the ISM Code.
14. Interim certification: This chapter provides transitional arrangements for new ships or new companies that have not yet established a fully functional SMS.
15. Verification: This chapter provides guidance on how to conduct verification audits of SMSs in accordance with IMO resolutions.
16. Forms of certificates: This chapter contains examples of DOCs, SMCs and interim certificates.
The ISM Code is a dynamic instrument that is periodically revised and updated by IMO to reflect changes in technology, regulations and best practices. The latest amendments to the ISM Code entered into force on 1 January 2015.
The ISM Code is not only a legal requirement but also a tool for enhancing safety performance, reducing risks, improving efficiency and promoting a positive image of the shipping industry. By implementing an effective SMS, companies can demonstrate their commitment to safety excellence and social responsibility.