SMS (Safety Management System)
ISM (International Safety Management Code) prescribes that a Safety Management System (SMS) shall be implemented by the ship-owner.
ISM aims to:
- Assure the quality of safety at sea
- Prevent personal injuries and loss of lives
- Prevent physical damage on property and damage to the environment
A well thought through and updated SMS, implemented throughout the organization with regular follow-ups, is the foundation for safe shipping and hence an excellent tool in order to minimize the risk of casualties.
Read more about the ISM Code on the IMO web page.
Simple and clear routines for documenting and communicating important information within the shipping company is one of the very corner stones for an effective SMS.
The officer on watch shall be familiar with the valid standing orders. The master’s standing orders are a tool used to instruct the officer on watch on how to act in certain vessel specific situations. Even ship-owner/manager can have standing orders of a more or less general character.
Effective routines for reporting incidents and accidents that occur on board will give the persons responsible in the management time and opportunity to prevent further damage from occurring. It is important to implement a documented system for reporting and re-reporting to the person first reporting the damage occurred.
The care and maintenance of the vessel shall be well documented and scheduled. A well updated and logically preventive maintenance system is one of the best tools for safe journeys.
There are several occasions when certain planning and attention is needed from the crew and operators. Well prepared, with a well-planned schedule and relevant risk assessments will reduce the risk of casualties. Examples of these occasions are narrow waters, port calls, docking, lay-ups and slow steaming.
The operator is responsible for the crew being of sufficient size and that all have enough competence for its position on board. Competent crew is prerequisite for all qualitative operations of ships.
Emergency response exercises
A well planned contingency plan based on risk assessments and exercises in order to minimize casualties in the event of any incident is not only a legal requirement but also a necessity for good seamanship.
A seaman who feels good and safe in his work environment is a prerequisite for a good seamanship and safe operation of the ship. Factors including, but not limited to, fatigue, work hours, crew health care and social spaces on board may be of relevance.