BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Referat ISM/ILO - Bereich ISM-Code
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Fax: +49 40 361 37-204

Tilo Berger
Phone: +49 40 361 37-213

Sven Reese
Phone: +49 40 361 37-313

Kathrin Saß
Phone: +49 40 361 37-260

Florian Reise
Phone: +49 40 361 37-214

Safety management (ISM)

Holistic approach of the ISM-Code

The International Safety Management Code (ISM-Code) is a mandatory international instrument to establish measures for the safe management and operation of ships. The ISM-Code is part of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS convention chapter IX) and also of the European Regulation (EC) No 336/2006, which applies to ships on domestic voyages.

Accordingly, the ISM-Code has to be implemented for the following types of ships

on international voyages:

  • passenger ships
  • of 500 gross tonnage and above: oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas carriers, bulk carriers, cargo high-speed craft, other cargo ships and mobile offshore drilling units.

And for the following types of ships

on domestic voyages:

Shipping companies are, according to the ISM-Code, obliged to

  • provide for safe practices in ship operation,
  • ensure a safe working environment and
  • identify and assess all risks to its ships, its personnel and the environment and establish appropriate safeguards against all identified risks.

Further objectives are the preparation for emergencies and the continuous improvement of safety management skills of personnel ashore and aboard ships.

The cornerstones of good safety management are commitment from the top, on board as well as in the shipping companies ashore; furthermore the development and implementation of a suitable concept for ship safety, for marine environmental protection and for working- and living conditions on board. Such a "Safety Management System" (SMS) of a shipping company is documented in the "Safety Management Manual". This manual generally contains procedures and checklists for use on board as well as ashore.

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bild sicherer schiffsbetrieb (ISM)

Responsibilities according to the ISM-Code

A „Designated Person Ashore“ (DPA) with direct access to the highest level of management serves, in every shipping company, as link between those ashore and those on board. This highlights the responsibility for safety management not only of the master, but of the entire shipping company.

In Germany the ship safety division of the Berufsgenossenschaft für Transport und Verkehrswirtschaft (BG Verkehr) is responsible for verifying implementation of the ISM-Code and thus also for issuance of the two relevant certificates (Document of Compliance - DOC und Safety Management Certificate - SMC).

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