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            october 16, 2019

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ICS and ISF launch ISM Code Guidelines


The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) have published a new edition of their widely used ‘Guidelines on the Application of the IMO International Safety Management (ISM) Code’ with additional guidance on risk management, safety culture and environmental management.   
ICS/ISF Secretary General, Tony Mason, explained, “On 1st July, the latest amendments to the ISM Code will enter into force.  Anticipating these changes, and in order to take account of other experience gained since the ISM Code first become mandatory, ICS and ISF have published a new edition of their definitive Guidelines.’ 
The first edition of the ICS/ISF Guidelines was published in 1993 and proved an invaluable tool for the majority of the world’s shipping companies as they prepared for the introduction of the then radical new regime.  As well as continuing to provide a standard resource for those who need to be familiar with ISM, the revised Guidelines take full account of the latest guidance to administrations and companies that has subsequently been developed by IMO. 
In particular, additional guidance has been included on the maintenance of Safety Management Systems, which are at the heart of the ISM Code’s objectives, and on the role of the Designated Person Ashore who provides the key link between the ship and shore based management.  A new analysis is included of why accidents happen, and expanded advice is provided on risk management and on the operation of a ‘safety culture’, in order that companies can fulfil the spirit, as well as the letter, of the ISM Code’s requirements.
“It is important to remember that the full title of the ISM Code is the ‘International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention” said Mr Mason.
“While safety of life at sea must always be the first priority, the important role of the SMS in preventing marine pollution must not be overlooked.  Our new edition therefore places additional emphasis on environmental management.” 
The Guidelines also consider the potential for linkage between ISM systems and the need to reduce fuel consumption, using Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans that have been adopted by IMO, on a voluntary basis, in order to reduce CO2 emissions.
Mr Mason added, “The essential purpose of the ISM Code is to instil a commitment to continuous improvement and the eradication of behavioural complacency.  It is clear that many companies have benefited significantly from the successful implementation of the ISM Code.  Other companies, however, while complying with ISM requirements, may still not yet have realised the Code’s full potential to make their operations safer, cleaner, and more efficient.  The underlying principle of ISM is to help achieve the ultimate goal of zero accidents and zero pollution.  It is greatly hoped that the new edition of the ICS/ISF Guidelines will contribute to the fulfilment of this vital objective.”  

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