What is the ISM code?

Resolution A.741(18) adopted the ISM Code in 1993. This came into force on 1 July 1998. The 1994 amendments to the SOLAS Convention began Chapter IX regarding the management of the safe operation of ships.

Resolutions MSC. 104 (73) and 179 (79) brought the 2000 and 2004 amendments to the Code.

Since ships operate in diverse conditions, the Code has several provisions and guidelines concerning their safety and pollution prevention. State administrations, ship owners and classification societies.

What is the ISM Code?

The ISM Code is a needed marine industry regulation known as the International Safety Management Code.

Since 1994, it has been an essential part of the SOLAS Convention, which stands for Safety of Life at Sea. In 2024, this ISM Code was formally practised and integrated into the SOLAS Convention.

In other words, the ISM Code Shipping is an innate part of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) hard work to ensure, maintain, and effectuate safety for seafarers and prevent pollution.

The Code emphasizes that, in matters of safety, individuals’ efforts, competence, and motivation can help achieve positive results.

The objectives of the Code are to make sure we are safe at sea. Also, prevent human injury, ensure personnel safety, and avoid hazards to the environment, especially to the marine environment.

The Code focuses on establishing marine safety as a common platform for vessels of every nationality by laying down specific safeguards, general principles, and objectives.

This eliminates any discrepancies in maintaining a much-needed safety protocol. The Code applies to all kinds of vessels. These include oil tankers, chemical tankers, cargo ships, gas carrying ships, bulk carriers, passenger vessels, and offshore structures.

It is thoroughly explained and applicable broadly. Therefore, it has a broad ranged application. However, the cornerstone of adequate safety management comes from the shipowners also the top stakeholders.

For instance, the safety management goals of the company should prioritize safe working environment practices for operating ships.

Company verification and evaluation include assessing all identified risks, hazards, and technical systems, ensuring personnel training, and conducting safety management audits, inspections, and drills at proper intervals. This comprises internal audits and management reviews, which are company duties.

International Safety Management Code

The International Management Code gives an international standard for ship management and operation and pollution prevention. Its roots date back to the late 1980s when there was a growing crisis about lax management standards in the maritime sector.

According to the provisions of this ism Code, every ships must follow this Code. To accomplish its proper functionality, the International Safety Management Code is backed up by a Safety Management System.

This system is abbreviated as SMS. Details the different requirements that have to be followed like:

  1.    Establishment of a managerial committee to handle the different proceedings
  2. To make sure that the managerial officers carry out their outlined responsibilities appropriately
  3. Corroborate the discrepancies between the outlined responsibilities and the actual performance to fix them
  4. Audit the vessel both internally and externally. To eradicate all chances of safety problems

The latter aspect comes in the ambit of the Planned Maintenance System. They enforce this thing wherever it is lacking.

Companies handle their own internal audits. The government does external audits every few years.

If the ship successfully incorporates all the safety requirements, the officials issue it with a Certification of Safety Management, alternatively, the Safety Management Certificate, which completes the entire process chain.

Safety Management System

A company’s safety management system makes sure compliance with the ISM rules and guidelines. This code’s requirements apply to all kinds of ships and highlight the company’s environmental protection policy.

It is a designed and well-documented system that enables company personnel to roll out the company’s safety and environmental rules. Thus making it an essential component of its functioning.

A Company here means the ship’s owner or any organization, such as a team leader or the bareboat charterer, who is responsible for the ship’s operation from the shipowner.

Administration refers to the state government under whose flag the vessel flies, and it abides by that state’s legislation and international rules

Crew Need to Be Trained to Handle ISM Code

A company should ensure that the captain and crew are qualified enough and well-informed about the firm’s SMS. They should have a proper understanding of relevant rules and regulations before setting sail. They can also ask for the firm’s assistance if required. The company should provide training and relevant orders to support the SMS in the working language.

All ships need to be properly maintained. Sailing ships have strict standards to meet. If a business is not following the rules, it needs to explain itself properly.

The company should record the right people and interrelation of all personnel accountable for the ship’s safety and pollution prevention.

The company should make sure that all its ships have medically fit seafarers. Another vital guideline is to have constant lines of communication between onshore and shipboard personnel for reporting essential matters. Furthermore, the company should provide sufficient resources and essential support so that the designated people can carry out their tasks efficiently.

All the crew need to have the right kind of training to keep them up to date. They must be aware of their duties.

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