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
6 Proceedings Spring 2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings I recently spent some time visiting several offshore supply vessel companies in the Gulf of Mexico, and it was clear that safety management systems helped improve the companies' daily vessel operations. Through my own experience as an offshore supply vessel master in the mid-1990s, I would have loved to have had a safety management system as a tool to streamline vessel operations, ensure the vessel maintained regulatory compliance, and ensure proper notifcation to the company. I spoke to several vessel masters and port captains during my recent trip to Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and it was clear that the vessels' safety management systems were working as designed, with all involved parties committed to main- taining the vessels to the highest standard to ensure crew safety and security and protect the environment. While a safety management system covers a broad scope of operations, the three primary areas addressed aboard ves- sels can be broken down into: • vessel systems, • vessel crews, • vessel operations. Vessel Systems Vessels built over the last few years have very complex, inte- grated systems that often become more advanced at a rate that's hard to keep up with. To maintain vessel safety, it's critical to have a safety management system that highlights how these systems work as well as how to rectify problems or failures within the system. The SMS also provides a means to identify regimented system and equipment test- ing and maintenance to ensure everything works prop- erly and all equipment operates within the manufacturer's specif cations. On July 1, 1998, the International Safety Management (ISM) Code was made mandatory for passenger vessels, tankers, and bulk carriers subject to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) on foreign voyages. All other vessel types were given an additional four years (until July 1, 2002) to comply. The ISM Code In many ways, the ISM Code was a radical philosophical departure from traditional IMO regulations that largely focused on ship design and equipment, as the code focused on the human element — and not just for those employed on the ship. The code also stressed the responsibility for shore-based company personnel to support and facilitate safe ship operation. The code laid out a brief but comprehensive framework of key elements that are fundamental to a safety management system (SMS). For example, companies must document oper- ations, procedures, and lines of communication between the shoreside and onboard vessel operations as well as establish a standardized process to identify nonconformities and haz- ardous situations to ensure they're addressed in a timely manner. A Safety Culture A vessel's SMS clearly identifes roles and responsibilities for all involved parties and documents how all issues and failures of systems should be addressed. Since International Safety Management Code implementation, the Coast Guard has discovered that employees and management must have 100 percent buy-in for safety management systems to be effective and create a true safety culture within a company. Safety Management Facilitates Safe Vessel Operation Vessel systems, crew, and operations. by LCDR AARon W. Demo Offce of Commercial Vessel Compliance Domestic Vessel Division U.S. Coast Guard Safety Management System Objectives