Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/665311
23 Spring 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings All passenger ships, regardless of tonnage, must comply with the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, enforced through the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). As required by the code, these passenger ships must employ a safety management system (SMS). A typical cruise ship safety management system is an incredibly large, multi-layered system consisting of thick volumes of books and manuals — or, more commonly, com- puter-based references. It encompasses all the rules, regula- tions, policies, processes, and procedures a company and ship employ to make sure everyone uses the same rulebook to ensure consistency. First, a company designs, develops, and implements its SMS. Then its fag administration 1 or an organization the admin- istration recognizes (commonly referred to as the "recog- nized organization," or RO) approves it and issues a safety management certifcate (for the ship) and a document of compliance (for the company). Shipboard personnel play an integral role in SMS self-management. If a policy, procedure, or form is not being followed, or in practicality does not work on the vessel for which it was developed, the crewmember must use the defned lines of commu- nication established within the safety management system to report such shortcomings. Audits The company undergoes required internal audits every 12 months to ensure compliance during the certificate's validity. Members of the company's shoreside personnel generally conduct these audits so that the examined areas are reviewed by some- one not associated with them. The administration, either directly or through a recognized organization, also performs a thorough examination of the vessel annually. During this time, auditors identify if the vessel is working within the confnes of the safety manage- ment system. Lastly, port states 2 have a vested interest in vessels that call on their ports and navigate in their waters. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) examines each foreign-fagged cruise ship through its foreign passenger vessel exam program at least twice per year. Though port state control offcers (PSCOs) mainly examine the vessel for substantial compliance with federal law and international regulation, this exam is not limited to those groups of rules. USCG PSCOs will also ver- ify that the vessel is being operated in accordance with the company's safety management system. ISM Code and Vessel Safety Management Systems Reading between the lines to optimize compliance. by mR. JAson m. yeTs Marine Inspector/Instructor Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Inspections A ship's offcer explains safety management system testing procedures to USCG exam- iners. All photos courtesy of the Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise.