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Module 1. General

ISM Code-2018

Module 1 contains the requirements of par. 1, ISM Code:

1.1 Definitions
1.2 Objectives
1.3 Application
1.4 Functional requirements for a Safety Management System

This SMS Module is recommended to supplement by clause 1.0 Normative references.

An example of paragraph 1.3 of the Safety Management Manual is presented below:


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1 The purpose of this Code is to provide an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention.
2 The Assembly adopted resolution A.443 (XI), by which it invited all Governments to take the necessary steps to safeguard the shipmaster in the proper discharge of his responsibilities with regard to maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment.
3 The Assembly also adopted resolution A.680 (17), by which it further recognized the need for appropriate organization of management to enable it to respond to the need of those on board ships to achieve and maintain high standards of safety and environmental protection.
4 Recognizing that no two shipping companies or shipowners are the same, and that ships operate under a wide range of different conditions, the Code is based on general principles and objectives.
5 The Code is expressed in broad terms so that it can have a widespread application. Clearly, different levels of management, whether shore-based or at sea, will require varying levels of knowledge and awareness of the items outlined.
6 The cornerstone of good safety management is commitment from the top. In matters of safety and pollution prevention it is the commitment, competence, attitudes and motivation of individuals at all levels that determines the end result.

Part A - Implementation
1 General
1.1 Definitions

The following definitions apply to parts A and B of this Code.

1.1.1 "International Safety Management (ISM) Code" means the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention as adopted by the Assembly, as may be amended by the Organization.
1.1.2 "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 duties and responsibility imposed by the Code.
1.1.3 "Administration" means the Government of the State whose flag the ship is entitled to fly.
1.1.4 "Safety management system" means a structured and documented system enabling Company personnel to implement effectively the Company safety and environmental protection policy.
1.1.5 "Document of Compliance" means a document issued to a Company which complies with the requirements of this Code.
1.1.6 "Safety Management Certificate" means a document issued to a ship which signifies that the Company and its shipboard management operate in accordance with the approved safety management system.
1.1.7 "Objective evidence" means quantitative or qualitative information, records or statements of fact pertaining to safety or to the existence and implementation of a safety management system element, which is based on observation, measurement or test and which can be verified.
1.1.8 "Observation" means a statement of fact made during a safety management audit and substantiated by objective evidence.
1.1.9 "Non-conformity" means an observed situation where objective evidence indicates the non-fulfillment of a specified requirement.
1.1.10 "Major non-conformity" 1 means an identifiable deviation that poses a serious threat to the safety of personnel or the ship or a serious risk to the environment that requires immediate corrective action or the lack of effective and systematic implementation of a requirement of this Code.
1.1.11 "Anniversary date" means the day and month of each year that corresponds to the date of expiry of the relevant document or certificate
1.1.12 "Convention" means the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended.

1.2 Objectives

1.2.1 The objectives of the Code are to ensure safety at sea, prevention of human injury or loss of life, and avoidance of damage to the environment, in particular to the marine environment and to property.
1.2.2 Safety management objectives of the Company should, inter alia:
.1 provide for safe practices in ship operation and a safe working environment;
.2 assess all identified risks to its ships, personnel and the environment and establish appropriate safeguards; and
.3 continuously improve safety management skills of personnel ashore and aboard ships, including preparing for emergencies related both to safety and environmental protection.

1.2.3 The safety management system should ensure:
.1 compliance with mandatory rules and regulations; and
.2 that applicable codes, guidelines and standards recommended by the Organization, Administrations, classification societies and maritime industry organizations are taken into account 2.

1.3 Application

The requirements of this Code may be applied to all ships.

1.4 Functional requirements for a safety management system

Every Company should develop, implement and maintain a safety management system which includes the following functional requirements:

.1 a safety and environmental protection policy;
.2 instructions and procedures to ensure safe operation of ships and protection of the environment in compliance with relevant international and flag State legislation;
.3 defined levels of authority and lines of communication between, and amongst, shore and shipboard personnel;
.4 procedures for reporting accidents and non-conformities with the provisions of this Code;
.5 procedures to prepare for and respond to emergency situations; and
.6 procedures for internal audits and management reviews.

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Entry into (Confined) Enclosed Spaces onboard ships is sometimes a necessary but dangerous work activity.

OCIMF has published an updated information paper that provides guidance on how to manage the risks and potentially serious impacts associated with the use of drugs and alcohol in relation to marine operations.


Guideline is solely drafted for the purpose of providing guidance to the PSCO in performing a PSC inspection on the subject matter.


IBICON offers you an overview of the ISM Code requirements related to the Designated Person Ashore (DPA).


The International Labour Organisation (ILO) observes its World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28 each year. 

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