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ISM – International Safety Management Codes

In this article, we will have a closer look on the ‘7’ most vital elements of the ISM codes.

How to protect the world, crew, aquatic life, prevent pollution and promote safety, these questions were raised when many incidents/accidents were reported. These questions lead for the formation of ISM code.

ISM Codes

How & When ISM Codes came into existence ?

On the evening of 6th March 1987, the cross-channel Ro-Ro ferry Herald of Free Enterprise, carried more than 450 passengers, 80 crew members and more than 80 capsized!

The sudden cause of the accident was that the bow door remained wide open, allowing tons of inrush water as the vessel increased its speed, while the fatigued assistant boatswain was directly responsible for closing it was reported to be asleep in his cabin.

7 Important Elements Of The ISM Codes

  1. Who is the company?

The company is the one who  has agreed to take over all the duties and responsibilities as per the ISM codes

  • Owner of the ship is Company
  • Any other organization
  • Bareboat Charterer

 Ship cannot sail with an invalid or a missing statutory certificate. “Safety Management certificate” is among those certificates which are very important on a ship.

 The “Company” details are important for this certificate.

  • Important contents in the certificate
  •  Name of the Company
  • Address of the Company and
  • company identification  number

2. What are company’s responsibilities.

The company should always comply with the ISM Codes.

If you go through the ISM codes, it starts with “Company Should” or “Company is responsible”.

These ISM codes are not just made for the company responsible of shipboard operations but it also has its implications in the shipping business like it states that ship owner will not be held responsible for any delays or damages resulting because of faults of master and crew of the ship.

3. Certifications by ISM

The 2 important statutory certificates that are required as per the ISM codes are –

  • Document of compliance:
  • DOC is issued to the corporate by the flag state or by the classification society on behalf of the flag state. The certificate is valid for 5 years and it needs to be supported annually.
  • DOC is issued to the corporate when a successful audit to verify that company complies with the needs of ISM codes.
  • A company could have multiple document of compliance from totally different completely different flags and from different classification societies.
  • Safety management certificate:
  • This certificate is issued after substantiating 2 parts needed as per the ISM codes
  • That the protection management system is in lieu and complies with the ISM code requirements.
  • That the protection management system is being enforced and followed on board
  • This verification method is called “external audit” of the SMS and is usually done by the category on behalf of the flag of the ship.

5. Designated person ASHORE

  • ISM code needs the corporate to nominate a Designated one who are a link between ship and shore.
  • DPA should have the higher management well in his/her reach
  • is accountable for monitoring the protection and pollution prevention aspects of the operation of every ship
  • is accountable for making certain that adequate resources and shore-based support are applied, as needed

6.  Observation

  • As we all know there are 2 audits applied on ships to meet the conditions of the ISM code.
  • External audit by the category on behalf of flag of the ship.
  • Internal audit by the corporate.

7. Master review

  • one of the responsibilities of the master as per ISM code is to review the effectiveness of the SMS on board.
  • Give suggestions to boost the protection management system on board ships
  • Review and treat the shore based support and the way it can be improved
  • Review and treat the ship’s performance on safety and pollution related matters.

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