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ISM (Safety Management Code)

Safety Management Code (ISM)

The International Safety Management (ISM) Code is given Convention status by inclusion in Chapter IX - "Management for the safe operation of ships" of SOLAS 74, and entered into force on 1 July 1998. It is applicable to ships, regardless of the date of construction, as follows:

  1. passenger ships including passenger high-speed craft, not later than 1 July 1998;
  2. oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas carriers, bulk carriers and cargo high-speed craft of 500 gross tonnage and upwards, not later than 1 July 1998; and
  3. other cargo ships and mobile offshore drilling units of 500 gross tonnage and upwards, not later than 1 July 2002.

It does not apply to government-operated ships used for non-commercial purposes.

The Code requires that each Company be issued with a Document of Compliance (DOC) and each ship with a Safety Management Certificate (SMC) ("Company" means the Owner of the Ship or any other organization or person such as the Manager, or the Bareboat Charterer, who has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship from the Shipowner and who on assuming such responsibility has agreed to take over all the duties and responsibility imposed by the Code.) It requires each Company to apply a Safety Management System (SMS) to the ships it operates, the contents of which will be affected by company Commitment, values and beliefs.

The impact of the ISM Code, when fully implemented, will be that Owners/Operators will focus more effectively on safety matters. It may be anticipated that this will result in more efficient operation and satisfactory maintenance of ships, their safety systems and environment protection systems as per the regulatory strategy at Section 3(19).

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