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25 Spring 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings In Practice These three scenarios show that when the PSCO identifes a nonconformity with the ship's SMS, understanding writ- ing the defciency to the ISM Code is important. The code itself must be cited, but not without regulation to support it; SOLAS Chapter IX/3 is the supporting regulation, making compliance with the code mandatory. Lastly, the PSCO must identify the element of the ISM Code that best describes the standard the vessel is unable to or has failed to meet. Safety management systems, more often than not, are far more stringent than any domestic or international law, as it is in the company's best interest to protect their person- nel and assets. For example, some companies require each lifeboat to be lowered to the water once a month, whereas international regulation only requires this once every three months. Remember, we are writing requirements based on each vessel's system and their company's interpretation of the system — not ours. When we identify issues where a ship's crewmembers aren't complying with their own company's requirements, we should expand our exam to ensure it's an isolated incident — not systemic. We can also call for the vessel's fag state to conduct an external audit to bring addi- tional attention to a noncompliant condition. As a PSCO, this is the end-goal: to correct issues that create unsafe condi- tions, ensuring a vessel is in substantial compliance. 3 Recording Defciencies Writing defciencies to a ship's SMS by way of the ISM Code can be confusing, as the code incorporates some vague ver- biage, so port state control offcers must ensure they are directly correlating the defciency identifed to the corre- sponding section of the code. The IMO has developed guidelines to assist companies in establishing routine maintenance intervals for shipboard systems. When using these guidelines, remember they are just that — guidelines, not requirements. The specifc inter- vals for system maintenance are listed in the ship's safety management system. These intervals are what the company and fag state have agreed to, and thus can be held to, unless the administration approves otherwise. Let's review the previous examples and identify the best possible method to record defciencies: Example 1 — Fire Drill Anomaly: The frefghters lacked an air cylinder during the fre drill, but the company SMS identifed the reason for this deviation from "realistic," so there is no problem and no defciency should be recorded. However, if the SMS stated that all frefghters must breathe air from the cylinder, but they didn't, then PSCOs should record this requirement, following it with the identifed defciency. Example 2 — Ship's Systems: The secondary OCM, or "white box," was not functioning. Although regulation doesn't require this, the company's safety management system does. Part A of the ISM Code, 220.127.116.11, requires that the company assess all identifed risks to the environment and establish appropriate safeguards. In this instance, the company established the risk of accidental discharge, imple- mented a secondary OCM, and it was discovered to be non- functioning. This again shows that what the policy states should be functioning is not actually functioning "as the ship lives." Example 3 — The Human Factor: The same defciency is identifed during each of four concurrent exams. Part A of the ISM Code, 9.2, requires the company to establish proce- dures to implement corrective action, including measures to prevent recurrence. There are two ways to look at this, starting with where the breakdown occurred — whether it was within the SMS, or whether it was a shipboard person- nel issue. If the requirements of Section 9.2 aren't met due to a lack of policy or procedure, then it's a clear nonconformity with the ISM Code. If it's a personnel issue, then we refer again to 9.2 and further support it with SOLAS Chapter XI/4. The examples given above are just that. The examiner's goal is to fnd the best cite that most accurately correlates to the fnding and best supports the defciency. The Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise stands ready to assist you, and we can also provide any ISM-specifc training needed. About the author: Mr. Yets joined the Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise in 2011 follow- ing a shipboard career with a major cruise line, where he was a safety offcer. He is a marine inspector and instructor for the Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise, manages its basic foreign passenger vessel examination training program, and serves as the unit's public affairs offcer. Endnotes: 1. Administration is defned as "… the government of the state whose fag the ship is entitled to fy." ISM Code, 2010 edition. 2. A ship is entitled to fy a designated state fag. When that ship enters the waters of any other state fag during its voyage, that ship is entering a "port state." 3. Requests for external audits by the fag administration should be noted and for- mally requested on the Form B. Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, 04-05, "Port State Control Guidelines for the Enforcement of Management for the Safe Operation of Ships (ISM Code)" can also provide additional guidance.