What is objective of ISM code on ships ?

The objectives of the Code are to ensure safety at sea, prevention of human injury or loss of life, and avoidance of damage to the environment, in particular, to the marine environment, and to property. Safety management objectives of the Company should, inter alia: 

  • provide for safe practices in ship operation and a safe working environment;  PROCEDURES
  • establish safeguards against all identified risks; and  CHECKS
  • continuously improve safety management skills of personnel ashore and aboard ships, including preparing for emergencies related both to safety and environmental protection. TRAINING

The safety and management system should ensure:

  • compliance with mandatory rules and regulations; and 
  • that applicable codes, guidelines and standards recommended by the Organization, Administrations, classification societies and maritime industry organizations are taken into account. 
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Functional requirements for a Safety Management System (SMS) 

Every Company should develop, implement and maintain a Safety Management System (SMS) which includes the following functional requirements: 

  • a safety and environmental protection policy; 
  • instructions and procedures to ensure safe operation of ships and protection of the environment in compliance with relevant international and flag State legislation; 
  • defined levels of authority and lines of communication between, and amongst, shore and shipboard personnel; 
  • procedures for reporting accidents and non-conformities with the provisions of this Code; 
  • procedures to prepare for and respond to emergency situations; and  procedures for internal audits and management reviews.

Master’s Responsibility and Authority

 The company should clearly define and document the master’s responsibility with regard to:

  1. implementing the safety and environmental protection policy of the Company;
  2. motivating the crew in the observation of that policy;
  3. issuing appropriate orders and instructions in a clear and simple manner;
  4. verifying that specified requirements are observed; and
  5. reviewing the SMS and reporting its deficiencies to the shore based management.

The Company should ensure that he SMS operating on board the ship contains a clear statement emphasizing the Master’s authority. The Company should establish in the SMS that the master has the overriding authority and the responsibility to make decisions with respect to safety and pollution prevention and to request the Company’s assistance as may be necessary.


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