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15th September 2014

The last few days the surveyors visited Gran Canarias, Germany, Venezuela, France and Argentina. In addition, other inspections were carried out in Greece, Chile and Panama.

Marinos Wang from the China office has been quite busy the last days looking at ships and local shipping companies in China and Taiwan. He was involved with an office management assessment where the SMS manuals have not been revised for some years, which is against the practice. SMS should be regularly revised for continuous upgrade and improvement, by the office and by the masters on board.

SMS manuals is another of the most important things that the surveyor needs to check when inspecting. 

On this matter, all international passenger ships and oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas carriers, bulk carriers and cargo ships of 500 gross tons or more are required to have a Safety Management System (SMS). In 1993 IMO adopted the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (the ISM Code), and in 1998, the ISM Code became mandatory.

The code establishes safety-management objectives and requires a SMS to be established by the company, which is defined as the shipowner or any person, such as the manager or bareboat charterer, who has assumed responsibility for operating the ship.

The company is then required to establish and implement a policy for achieving these objectives. This includes providing the necessary resources and shore-based support. Every company is expected to designate a person or persons ashore having direct access to the highest level of management.

The procedures required by the code should be documented and compiled in a SMS manual, a copy of which should be kept on board.