Sailing the high seas can be treacherous, with countless hazards lurking around every corner. This was especially evident in earlier times when poor ship management led to significant marine disasters. It was in the 1980s that such rising concerns gave way to the International Safety Management Code or the ISM Code.

Today, thanks to the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, ships and their crews are better equipped to navigate these dangers and stay safe. In this article, we’ll dive into the ISM Code, exploring what it is, how it’s implemented, what is the ship management system in ISM Code and the benefits it brings to the shipping industry. So, set sail with us as we uncover the secrets of this essential maritime safety protocol.

What is the ISM Code?

The ISM Code in shipping is a set of guidelines established by the International Maritime Organization or IMO to ensure the safety and efficiency of ships and their crew. The Code sets out the responsibilities of ship owners, ship operators, and masters to ensure the safe operation of ships efficiently. The Code also establishes the requirements for a Safety Management System (SMS) to be implemented on ships, which is a comprehensive system that covers all aspects of ship operations, including design and construction, maintenance, crew training, and emergency preparedness.

Objectives of ISM

The ISM Code establishes international standards for the safe management and operation of ships and for preventing pollution. Its goals are to ensure safety at sea, prevent injuries and loss of life, and avoid damage to property and the marine environment. To achieve these objectives, the code has three main principles:

promoting safe practices in ship operations and a safe working environment,
identifying and mitigating risks to ships, personnel and the environment,
continuously enhancing the safety management skills of personnel both on board and ashore and preparing for emergencies related to safety and the environment.

Implementation of ISM Code on ships

The ISM Code requires having a Safety Management System for ships in place. The SMS must be developed, implemented, and maintained by the ship owner or operator and must be approved by the ship’s flag state.
The Safety Management System must include procedures for the following:

  • Safety and environmental protection
  • Design and construction
  • Maintenance and inspection
  • Crew training and familiarisation
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Internal audits and management reviews
  • Compliance with relevant national and international regulations

The ISM Code also requires that ships have a Designated Person Ashore (DPA), who ensures that the SMS is being implemented and followed correctly. The DPA must be easily accessible to the ship’s crew and have the necessary knowledge and expertise to assist the crew in implementing the SMS.

Benefits of ISM Code implementation

The implementation of the ISM Code on ships has several benefits, including

  • Improved safety and environmental protection
  • Reduced risk of accidents and incidents
  • Improved efficiency and productivity
  • Reduced costs associated with accidents and incidents
  • Compliance with national and international regulations
  • Increased public confidence in the shipping industry

Summing Up

The ISM Code is an essential set of guidelines established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ensure the safety and efficiency of ships and their crew. The ISM Code also promotes the constant improvement of safety management skills of personnel, both ashore and aboard, and preparation for safety and environmental emergencies.

At SBN Technologies, we understand the importance of the ISM Code and have developed the most reliable ship safety management system. If you’re looking for an effective shipping software provider, contact SBN Technologies today to learn more about our ship safety management system and how we can help you comply with the ISM Code.