145/18/Gen.Inf.US flag interpretations on the ISM Code

USCG released a new guidance for stakeholders and Recognized Organizations when they are developing, implementing, and verifying SMSs, to ensure the ISM Code is effectively implemented on applicable US flagged vessels. This work instruction also includes specific provisions to assist in assessing risks and developing contingency plans for emergency shipboard situations.

A series of vessel accidents in the late 1980s linked to human error, along with a movement among vessel owners to transfer the responsibility of vessel operations to ship management companies, suggested a link between the increase in accidents and management faults. In response to these concerns, IMO adopted the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, Nov. 4, 1993.

The ISM Code places top management in a position to provide for safe ship operations, establish safeguards against identified risks, and continuously improve safety management skills of shore and shipboard personnel. The implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS) provides a means to meet these safety objectives and serves as a platform for company management to document company guidelines related to:

Safety and environmental protection policies
Instructions and procedures to ensure companies operate ships in accordance with relevant Flag and Port State regulations
Defined levels of authority and lines of communication between, and amongst, shore and shipboard personnel
Procedures for reporting accidents and non-conformities with the provision of the ISM Code
Procedures for preparing for and responding to emergencies
Procedures for internal audits and management reviews

“The ISM Code and an SMS are more relevant today than ever before. As vessels increase in size and complexity while crew sizes decrease to an optimum level, a fully functional SMS enables a vessel owner to tailor vessel operations to a wide range of conditions. Additionally, as advances in maritime technology outpace the rate in which corresponding regulations or guidelines may be established, an SMS serves a critical role in bridging the regulatory gap and ensuring safe operations.”

Explore more here.

Source : USCG

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Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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