During the 1980s, a number of significant incidents at sea, on board commercial vessels, were caused by human errors. In hindsight, many of these errors were caused by a wider lack of good management, guidelines and rules. One of the more significant accidents leading to the first form of International Safety Management (ISM) Code was the capsizing of the RORO Ferry ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’.
The goal of the ISM Code is to limit accidents and casualties caused by the lack of management onboard and from their operators. It is now [internationally] mandatory for all commercial vessels and offshore units at sea above 500GT to comply, and for many vessels under 500GT due to their operations (such as Passenger Vessels or High Speed Craft). There is also a significant rise in operators choosing to voluntary certify their management and vessels, for prestige, for contractual gains, due to flag state recommendations or simply because the ISM Code is internationally being seen as the pinnacle of vessel safety management practice.
Many vessel operators, though, struggle with the effective implementation of the ISM Code and creating their own set of safety and pollution management procedures that comply and that can be effectively followed and maintained year by year.
Based on many years of advising vessel owners and operators on writing and maintaining ISM compliant systems, Kerrie Forster, CEO at the Workboat Association and a maritime consultant, put down his lessons learned from all of those ranging management styles, ideals, qualities, audits & auditors and expectations.
This guide is a collection of IMO published material, expert advice and industry best practice, and it aims to provide an easy to comprehend, methodical and practical tool to aid the simplified implementation and understanding of the ISM Code. Leading to the confident and durable creation of ISM compliant Safety Management Systems that fit individual company’s needs.