Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2016

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.

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Page 13 of 70

11 Spring 2016 Proceedings On the evening of March 6, 1987, in the early moments of the passage from Zeebrugge, Belgium, to Dover, U.K., the roll- on/roll-off passenger/freight ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized while transporting 80 crewmembers and 459 pas- sengers. Of those aboard, 193 perished. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, investigators determined that the main causal factor was failure to secure the inner and outer bow doors. As the case progressed, the formal investigation also identified several root causes within the corporate structure of the shore management that contributed to the disaster. For example, the formal investigation specifcally cited the shore management for failing to give proper and clear direc- tions. These fndings led the court to propose the safety management principles that eventually resulted in the Inter- national Safety Management (ISM) Code. It's been more than two decades since ISM Code inception, and yet, as a recent Coast Guard enquiry concluded, the management practices that contributed to the Herald of Free Enterprise tragedy remain (see "Noncompliance" sidebar). This is not to suggest that the design of the ISM Code itself is fundamentally fawed so much as, when compared to clearly prescriptive regulations, its orientation as a man- agement system leaves it open to various interpretations. It is this degree of subjectivity that can complicate effec- tive safety management system (SMS) implementation and challenge ISM Code administration. Therefore, to counter- balance this ambiguity, a clearer understanding of safety management system fundamentals is required. A Functional System By design, a safety management system is an integrated com- pilation of policies, procedures, and behaviors structured to ensure a formalized, proactive approach to safety manage- ment. Conceptually, and comparable to quality management systems, the role of leadership and organizational culture are paramount in ensuring that safety policies, rules, and processes are effectively implemented, reviewed, and con- tinuously improved. Over time, this methodology has matured and transcended industries such as civil aviation, rail transit, food safety, and health care. In the commercial maritime domain, compliance comes by way of an international mandate under Chapter IX of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the ISM Code, requiring shipping companies to each establish a management system to ensure that com- mercial vessels are maintained and operated safely, prevent maritime accidents, and protect the marine environment. The guiding principles for a functional SMS can be sum- marized in three basic tenets: • Say what you do. • Do what you say you do. • Prove that you do what you say you do. 1 Dead Reckoning by Safety Management? Check your course. by LCDR CoRyDon F. heARD iv Prevention Department Head Marine Safety Unit Texas City U.S. Coast Guard Safety Management System Objectives A safety management system is a compilation of policies, procedures, and behaviors structured to ensure a formalized, proactive approach to safety management.

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