SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM – SMS
In the maritime field, the SMS is a structured and documented system that allows a shipping company to operate in compliance with its own safety and environmental protection policy, in relation to the “International Safety Management” (ISM) code adopted by the IMO with resolution A.741(18), and since July 2000 has also become a requirement for yachts.
The ISM code, is the standard international code for the safe management of shipping operations and for the prevention of pollution (SOLAS – chapter IX).
The SMS is a management system which improves the safety on board ships and prevents environmental pollution through continued checks by crew, ground personnel, and inspectors, and therefore provides:
- a policy for safety and environmental protection;
- a declaration of which objectives it intends to pursue (those of the code, plus any others that do not conflict with the code;
- defines priorities, and
- describes resources, organizational arrangements, controls to be used, and instructions and procedures to ensure safe ship management and environmental protection in accordance with international and national standards.
The SMS provides for the presence of a person (DPA, Designated Person Ashore) or more individuals on the ground, who must ensure the safe operation of ships, provide a link between the company and those on board, have direct access to the highest levels of management, have the responsibility and authority to monitor safety and prevent pollution relating to on board operations. They must foresee procedures and present objective evidence (qualitative or quantitative information, documents or factual reports) concerning the security or existence and implementation of any element of the SMS, and provide procedures to ensure that non-compliance (situations established when there is objective evidence that specific ISM requirements are not adhered to – such as serious events where there is a risk to the security of people or the ship, its load, or serious environmental risk which requires immediate corrective action- accidents, and dangerous situations) is reported to the shipping company, to be investigated and analyzed with the purpose of improving the security and preventing pollution.
The SMS is composed of different documents which must be referred to during the implementation of the procedures required. These documents should be available both at the headquarters of the shipping company and onboard ship. The document used to describe and implement the safety management system is called the “Guide to Safety Management.”
The assessment of the activities set by the SMS is carried out with an audit performed by an independent qualified auditor on behalf of the national Maritime Authority or by an authorized body.
Any ship which meets the standards set by the ISM code is conferred with a Safety Management Certificate (SMC), and the Shipping Company obtains a Document of Compliance (DOC), which is valid for five years. The SMS guides are very useful for maritime workers as they contain procedures, assessments, controls and maintenance services which must be carried out on different schedules, in order to guarantee the maximum safety level in the management of onboard systems.
MONACONAVI has professional experience in the management, on behalf of shipping companies, of all audits (i.e. those within the company and on board ship), developing the Safety Management Manual, and assisting companies in all activities in order to obtain the Safety Management Certificate (SMC) and the Compliance Document (DOC).