During the 2020 SAFETY4SEA London Forum, Capt. Mark Bull, Principal, Trafalgar Navigation Limited, questioned if the ISM Code is failing, after more than 20 years since its implementation. Capt. Bull firstly provided a brief history of the ISM Code, as well as a description of the five main areas where he felt the Code has failed and went on to explain how such potential failures affect the crew. Since it was introduced; however, nobody has reviewed the Code to ensure its ongoing effectiveness, he concluded.
A new edition of “Guidelines on the Application of the IMO International Safety Management (ISM) Code”, is soon to be launched from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). This is an updated edition of their previous guideline, which was published back in 1993.
During the 2019 SAFETY4SEA Athens Conference, Mr. John Southam, Loss Prevention Executive at North Club, focused on a new safety approach called Safety Management 2.0. This highlights a current problem in shipping where company’s management systems are mainly based on complex procedures alone often forgetting the human element.
The ISM Code in its mandatory form was adopted in 1993 by resolution A.741(18) and entered into force on 1 July 1998. Since then, revised Guidelines were adopted by resolution A.913(22) in 2001, and subsequently by resolution A.1022(26) , adopted in December 2009, resolution A.1071(28) in December 2013, and revised Guidelines adopted by resolution A.1118(30) with effect from 6 December 2017.
Transport Malta’s MSIU issued an investigation report on the equipment failure leading to one fatality and one serious injury of crew onboard the crude oil tanker ‘MT SANAR-8’ in July 2018.
ClassNK issued its annual PSC report revealing a total of 384 PSC detentions through 2018, representing about 4.5% of the total number of ships in the NK fleet. The number of PSC detentions for 2017 was 426. Further, detention ratio of the NK fleet in 2018 is about 4.6%.
Paris MoU issued its annual PSC report, noting that the detention percentage of 3.15% in 2018 has significantly decreased compared to the 3.87% in 2017. The number of ships that received a banning order has also decreased from 32 in 2017 to 24 this year. ISM was again at the top of the five most frequently recorded deficiencies in 2018.
A major benefit of the ISM Code is that it encourages lessons to be learned from incidents. Thus, we have compiled a list of accidents related to ISM Code failures to highlight lessons learned. Besides, by learning lessons, safety procedures can be reviewed and amended to reduce risk of occurrence.
Complying with the ISM Code is at least a prerequisite for a safe navigation. As part of its series on ISM Code-related accidents, SAFETY4SEA focuses today on the grounding of the Maltese-registered tanker ‘Ovit’ in the Dover Strait, off UK, in September 2013.
In January 2008, three crew members of the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier ‘Padre’ told a local seafarer’s charity that they feared for their safety onboard. Thorough inspection shortly after identified key safety issues and the ship was detained immediately, while ISM certification was withdrawn.
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