Revoked by A/Res.1022(26) EIF =
Julyl 1st, 2010
15(j) of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization concerning the functions of
the Assembly in relation to regulations and guidelines concerning maritime safety and the
prevention and control of marine pollution from ships,
RECALLING ALSO resolution A.741(18), by which the Assembly adopted the International
Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (International
Safety Management (ISM) Code),
RECALLING FURTHER resolution
A.788(19), by which the Assembly adopted Guidelines on implementation of the International
Safety Management (ISM) Code by Administrations,
the ISM Code became mandatory, under the provisions of chapter IX of the International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended for companies operating
certain types of ships, on 1 July 1998, and will become mandatory for companies operating other
cargo ships and mobile offshore drilling units propelled by mechanical means of 500 gross
tonnage and upwards on 1 July 2002,
NOTING ALSO that the
Maritime Safety Committee at its seventy-third session, when adopting the amendments to the ISM
Code by resolution MSC.104(73), agreed that the Guidelines on implementation of the ISM Code by
Administrations should be revised to take account of those amendments,
RECOGNIZING that an Administration, in establishing that safety standards are
being maintained, has a responsibility to ensure that Documents of Compliance and Safety
Management Certificates have been issued in accordance with the Guidelines,
RECOGNIZING ALSO that there may be a need for Administrations to enter
into agreements in respect of issuance of certificates by other Administrations in compliance
with chapter IX of the 1974 SOLAS Convention and in accordance with resolution A.741(18),
RECOGNIZING FURTHER the need for uniform implementation of the
HAVING CONSIDERED the recommendations made by the
Maritime Safety Committee at its seventy-fourth session and by the Marine Environment
Protection Committee at its forty-sixth session,
1. ADOPTS the Revised
Guidelines on implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code by
Administrations set out in the Annex to the present resolution;
2. URGES Governments, when implementing the ISM Code, to adhere to the
3. REQUESTS Governments to
inform the Organization of any difficulties they have experienced in using the annexed Revised
4. AUTHORIZES the Maritime Safety
Committee and the Marine Environment Protection Committee to keep the annexed Guidelines under
review and to amend them as necessary.
resolution A.788(19) with effect as of 1 July 2002.
The ISM Code
The International Management Code
for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (International Safety Management
(ISM) Code) was adopted by the Organization by resolution A.741(18) and became mandatory by
virtue of the entry into force on 1 July 1998 of SOLAS chapter IX on Management for the Safe
Operation of Ships. The ISM Code provides an international standard for the safe management and
operation of ships and for pollution prevention.
Maritime Safety Committee, at its seventy-third session, adopted amendments to chapter IX of
SOLAS by resolution MSC.99(73), and to sections 1, 7, 13, 14, 15 and 16 of the ISM Code by
resolution MSC.104(73). As a result it is necessary to revise the previous version of the
Guidelines contained in Assembly resolution A.788(19), which is being superseded by the present
The ISM Code requires that Companies establish
safety objectives as described in section 1.2 of the ISM Code, and in addition that the
Companies develop, implement and maintain a safety management system which includes functional
requirements as listed in section 1.4 of the ISM Code.
application of the ISM Code should support and encourage the development of a safety culture in
shipping. Success factors for the development of a safety culture are, inter alia, commitment,
values and beliefs.
application of the ISM Code
organization of management, ashore and on board, is needed to ensure adequate standards of
safety and pollution prevention. A systematic approach to management by those responsible for
management of ships is therefore required. The objectives of the mandatory application of the
ISM Code are to ensure:
.1 compliance with mandatory rules and
regulations related to the safe operation of ships and protection of the environment; and
.2 the effective implementation and enforcement thereof by
Effective enforcement by Administrations
must include verification that the safety management system complies with the requirements as
stipulated in the ISM Code, as well as verification of compliance with mandatory rules and
The mandatory application of the ISM Code
should ensure, support and encourage the taking into account of applicable codes, guidelines
and standards recommended by the Organization, Administrations, classification societies and
maritime industry organizations.
Verification and certification responsibilities
The Administration is responsible for verifying compliance with the requirements of the ISM
Code and for issuing Documents of Compliance to Companies and Safety Management Certificates to
Resolutions A.739(18) - Guidelines for the
authorization of organizations acting on behalf of the Administration and A.789(19) –
Specifications on the survey and certification functions of recognized organizations acting on
behalf of the Administration, which have been made mandatory by virtue of SOLAS regulation
XI/1, and resolution A.847(20) – Guidelines to assist flag States in the implementation of IMO
instruments, are applicable when Administrations authorize organizations to issue Documents of
Compliance and Safety Management Certificates on their behalf.
2 Verifying compliance with the ISM code
2.1.1 To comply with the requirements
of the ISM Code, Companies should develop, implement and maintain a safety management system to
ensure that the safety and environmental protection policy of the Company is implemented. The
Company policy should include the objectives defined by the ISM Code.1
2.1.2 Administrations should verify compliance with the requirements of
the ISM Code by determining:
.1 the conformity of the Company's safety
management system with the requirements of the ISM Code; and
the safety management system ensures that the objectives defined in paragraph 1.2.3 of the ISM
Code are met.
2.1.3 Determining the conformity or
non-conformity of safety management system elements with the requirements specified by the ISM
Code may demand that criteria for assessment be developed. Administrations are recommended to
limit the development of criteria in the form of prescriptive management system solutions.
Criteria for assessment in the form of prescriptive requirements may have the effect that
safety management in shipping results in Companies implementing solutions prepared by others,
and it may then be difficult for a Company to develop the solutions which best suit that
particular Company, that particular operation or that specific ship.
2.1.4 Therefore, Administrations are recommended to ensure that these
assessments are based on determining the effectiveness of the safety management system in
meeting specified objectives, rather than conformity with detailed requirements in addition to
those contained in the ISM Code, so as to reduce the need for developing criteria to facilitate
assessment of the Companies' compliance with the Code.
2.2 The ability of the safety management system to meet general safety management
2.2.1 The ISM Code identifies general safety management objectives. These objectives
.1 to provide for safe practices in ship operation and a safe
.2 to establish safeguards against all identified
.3 to continuously improve the safety-management skills of
personnel ashore and aboard, including preparing for emergencies related both to safety and to
The verification should support and encourage
Companies in achieving these objectives.
objectives provide clear guidance to Companies for the development of safety management system
elements in compliance with the ISM Code. Since, however, the ability of the safety management
system to achieve these objectives cannot be determined beyond whether the safety management
system complies with the requirements of the ISM Code, they should not form the basis for
establishing detailed interpretations to be used for determining conformity or non-conformity
with the requirements of the ISM Code.
2.3 The ability of the safety management system to meet specific requirements of safety
and pollution prevention
2.3.1 The main criterion which should govern the
development of interpretations needed for assessing compliance with the requirements of the ISM
Code should be the ability of the safety management system to meet the specific requirements
defined by the ISM Code in terms of specific standards of safety and pollution prevention. The
specific standards of safety and protection of the environment specified by the ISM Code are:
.1 compliance with mandatory rules and regulations; and
.2 that applicable codes, guidelines and standards recommended by the
Organization, Administrations, classification societies and other maritime industry
organizations are taken into account.
records having the potential to facilitate verification of compliance with the ISM Code should
be open to scrutiny during an examination. For this purpose the Administration should ensure
that the Company provide auditors with statutory and classification records relevant to the
actions taken by the Company to ensure that compliance with mandatory rules and regulations is
maintained. In this regard the records may be examined to substantiate their authenticity and
2.3.3 Some mandatory requirements may not
be subject to statutory or classification surveys, such as:
maintaining the condition of ship and equipment between surveys; and
.2 certain operational requirements. Specific arrangements may be required to ensure
compliance and to provide for the objective evidence needed for verification in these cases,
.1 documented procedures and instructions; and
.2 documentation of the verification carried out by senior officers of
day-to-day operation when relevant to ensure compliance.
2.3.4 The verification of compliance with mandatory rules and regulations, which is
part of the ISM Code certification, neither duplicates nor substitutes surveys for other
maritime certificates. The verification of compliance with the ISM Code does not relieve the
Company, the master or any other entity or person involved in the management or operation of
the ship of their responsibilities.
Administrations should ensure that the Company has:
.1 taken into
account the recommendations, as referred to in 184.108.40.206 of the ISM Code, when establishing the
safety management system; and
.2 developed procedures to ensure that
these recommendations are implemented on shore and on board.
2.3.6 Within a safety management system, implementation of codes, guidelines and
standards recommended by the Organization, Administrations, classification societies and other
maritime industry organizations does not make these recommendations mandatory under the ISM
Code. Nevertheless auditors should encourage companies to adopt these recommendations whenever
applicable to the Company.
1The ICS/ISF Guidelines on the application of the International Safety Management Code
provide useful guidance on important individual elements of a safety management system and its
development by Companies.
3 The certifications proces
3.1 Certification activities
3.1.1 The certification process relevant to a
Document of Compliance for a Company and a Safety Management Certificate to a ship will
normally involve the following steps:
.1 initial verification;
.2 annual or intermediate verification;
renewal verification; and
.4 additional verification.
These verifications are carried out at the request of the Company to the Administration, or
to the organization recognized by the Administration to perform certification functions under
the ISM Code, or at the request of the Administration by another Contracting Government to the
Convention. The verifications will include an audit of the safety management system.
3.2 Initial verification
3.2.1 The Company should apply for ISM Code
certification to the Administration.
assessment of the shore side management system undertaken by the Administration would
necessitate assessment of the offices where such management is carried out and possibly of
other locations, depending on the Company's organization and the functions of the various
3.2.3 On satisfactory completion of the
assessment of the shore side safety management system, arrangements/planning may commence for
the assessment of the Company's ships.
satisfactory completion of the assessment, a Document of Compliance will be issued to the
Company, copies of which should be forwarded to each shore side premises and each ship in the
Company's fleet. As each ship is assessed and issued with a Safety Management Certificate, a
copy of it should also be forwarded to the Company's head office.
3.2.5 In cases where certificates are issued by a recognized
organization, copies of all certificates should also be sent to the Administration.
3.2.6 The safety management audit for the Company and
for a ship will involve the same basic steps. The purpose is to verify that a Company or a ship
complies with the requirements of the ISM Code. The audits include:
the conformity of the Company's safety management system with the requirements of the ISM Code,
including objective evidence demonstrating that the Company’s safety management system has been
in operation for at least three months and that a safety management system has been in
operation on board at least one ship of each type operated by the Company for at least three
.2 that the safety management system ensures that the
objectives defined in paragraph 1.2.3 of the ISM Code are met. This includes verification that
the Document of Compliance for the Company responsible for the operation of the ship is
applicable to that particular type of ship, and assessment of the shipboard safety management
system to verify that it complies with the requirements of the ISM Code, and that it is
implemented. Objective evidence demonstrating that the Company's safety management system has
been functioning effectively for at least three months on board the ship should be available,
including, inter alia, records from the internal audit performed by the Company.
3.3 Annual verification of Document of Compliance
3.3.1 Annual safety management audits are to be
carried out to maintain the validity of the Document of Compliance, and should include
examining and verifying the correctness of the statutory and classification records presented
for at least one ship of each type to which the Document of Compliance applies. The purpose of
these audits is to verify the effective functioning of the safety management system, and that
any modifications made the Safety Management System comply with the requirements of the ISM
3.3.2 Annual verification is to be carried out
within three months before and after each anniversary date of the Document of Compliance. A
schedule not exceeding three months is to be agreed for completion of the necessary corrective
3.3.3 Where the Company has more than one
shore side premises, each of which may not have been visited at the initial assessment, the
annual assessments should endeavour to ensure that all sites are visited during the period of
validity of the Document of Compliance.
verification of Safety Management Certificates
3.4.1 Intermediate safety management audits should
be carried out to maintain the validity of the Safety Management Certificate. The purpose of
these audits is to verify the effective functioning of the safety management system and that
any modifications made to the safety management system comply with the requirements of the ISM
Code. In certain cases, particularly during the initial period of operation under the safety
management system, the Administration may find it necessary to increase the frequency of the
intermediate verification. Additionally, the nature of non-conformities may also provide a
basis for increasing the frequency of intermediate verifications.
3.4.2 If only one intermediate verification is to be carried out, it
should take place between the second and third anniversary date of the issue of the Safety
3.5 Renewal verification
Renewal verifications are to be performed before the validity of the Document
of Compliance or the Safety Management Certificate expires. The renewal verification will
address all the elements of the safety management system and the activities to which the
requirements of the ISM Code apply. Renewal verification may be carried out from six months
before the date of expiry of the Document of Compliance or the Safety Management Certificate,
and should be completed before their date of expiry.
Safety management audits
The procedure for safety management audits
outlined in the following paragraphs includes all steps relevant for initial verification.
Safety management audits for annual verification and renewal verification should be based on
the same principles even if their scope may be different.
3.7 Application for audit
3.7.1 The Company should submit a request for audit
to the Administration or to the organization recognized by the Administration for issuing a
Document of Compliance or a Safety Management Certificate on behalf of the Administration.
3.7.2 The Administration or the recognized organization
should then nominate the lead auditor and, if relevant, the audit team.
3.8 Preliminary review
As a basis for planning the
audit, the auditor should review the safety management manual to determine the adequacy of the
safety management system in meeting the requirements of the ISM Code. If this review reveals
that the system is not adequate, the audit will have to be delayed until the Company undertakes
3.9 Preparing the audit
3.9.1 The nominated lead auditor should liaise with
the Company and produce an audit plan.
auditor should provide the working documents which are to govern the execution of the audit to
facilitate the assessments, investigations and examinations in accordance with the standard
procedures, instructions and forms which have been established to ensure consistent auditing
3.9.3 The audit team should be able to
communicate effectively with auditees.
3.10.1 The audit should start with an opening
meeting in order to introduce the audit team to the Company's senior management, summarize the
methods for conducting the audit, confirm that all agreed facilities are available, confirm
time and date for a closing meeting and clarify possible unclear details relevant to the audit.
3.10.2 The audit team should assess the safety
management system on the basis of the documentation presented by the Company and objective
evidence as to its effective implementation.
Evidence should be collected through interviews and examination of documents. Observation of
activities and conditions may also be included when necessary to determine the effectiveness of
the safety management system in meeting the specific standards of safety and protection of the
environment required by the ISM Code.
observations should be documented. After activities have been audited, the audit team should
review their observations to determine which are to be reported as non-conformities.
Non-conformities should be reported in terms of the general and specific provisions of the ISM
3.10.5 At the end of the audit, prior to
preparing the audit report, the audit team should hold a meeting with the senior management of
the Company and those responsible for the functions concerned. The purpose is to present the
observations in such a way as to ensure that the results of the audit are clearly understood.
3.11 Audit report
3.11.1 The audit report should be prepared under the
direction of the lead auditor, who is responsible for its accuracy and completeness.
3.11.2 The audit report should include the audit plan,
identification of audit team members, dates and identification of the Company, observations on
any non-conformities and observations on the effectiveness of the safety management system in
meeting the specified objectives.
3.11.3 The Company
should receive a copy of the audit report. The Company should be advised to provide a copy of
the shipboard audit reports to the ship.
3.12.1 The Company is responsible for determining
and initiating the corrective action needed to correct a non-conformity or to correct the cause
of the non-conformity. Failure to correct non-conformities with specific requirements of the
ISM Code may affect the validity of the Document of Compliance and related Safety Management
3.12.2 Corrective actions and possible
subsequent follow-up audits should be completed within the time period agreed. The Company
should apply for the follow-up audits.
responsibilities pertaining to safety management audits
3.13.1 The verification of compliance with the requirements of the ISM
Code does not relieve the Company, management, officers or seafarers of their obligations as to
compliance with national and international legislation related to safety and protection of the
3.13.2 The Company is responsible for:
.1 informing relevant employees about the objectives and scope of the
ISM Code certification;
.2 appointing responsible members of staff to
accompany members of the team performing the certification;
providing the resources needed by those performing the certification to ensure an effective and
efficient verification process;
.4 providing access and evidential
material as requested by those performing the certification; and
co-operating with the verification team to permit the certification objectives to be achieved.
3.14 Responsibilities of the organization
performing the ISM Code certification The organization performing the ISM Code certification is
responsible for ensuring that the certification process is performed according to the ISM Code
and these Guidelines. This includes management control of all aspects of the certification
according to the appendix to these Guidelines.
Responsibilities of the verification team
3.15.1 Whether the verifications involved with
certification are performed by a team or not, one person should be in charge of the
verification. The leader should be given the authority to make final decisions regarding the
conduct of the verification and any observations. His responsibilities should include:
.1 preparation of a plan for the verification; and
.2 submission of the report of the verification.
3.15.2 Personnel participating in the verification are responsible for complying with
the requirements governing the verification, ensuring confidentiality of documents pertaining
to the certification and treating privileged information with discretion.
Appendix Standards on ISM code certification arrangements
The audit team involved with ISM
Code certification, and the organization under which it may be managed, should comply with the
specific requirements stated in this Annex.
2 STANDARD OF MANAGEMENT
2.1 Organizations managing
verification of compliance with the ISM Code should have, in their own organization, competence
in relation to:
.1 ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations,
including certification of seafarers, for the ships operated by the Company;
.2 approval, survey and certification activities;
terms of reference that must be taken into account under the safety management system as
required by the ISM Code; and
.4 practical experience of ship
2.2 The Convention requires that
organizations recognized by Administrations for issuing a Document of Compliance and a Safety
Management Certificate at their request should comply with resolutions A.739(18) - Guidelines
for the authorization of organizations acting on behalf of the Administration and A.789(19) -
Specifications on the survey and certification functions of recognized organizations acting on
behalf of the Administration.
2.3 Any organization
performing verification of compliance with the provisions of the ISM Code should ensure that
there exists independence between the personnel providing consultancy services and those
involved in the certification procedure.
3 STANDARDS OF
3.1 ISM Code certification scheme
management Management of ISM Code certification schemes should be carried out by those who have
practical knowledge of ISM Code certification procedures and practices.
3.2Basic competence for performing verification
3.2.1 Personnel who are to participate in the
verification of compliance with the requirements of the ISM Code should have a minimum of
formal education comprising the following:
.1 qualifications from a
tertiary institution recognized by the Administration or by the recognized organization within
a relevant field of engineering or physical science (minimum two years programme), or
.2 qualifications from a marine or nautical institution and relevant
seagoing experience as a certified ship officer.
3.2.2 They should have undergone training to ensure adequate competence and skills
for performing verification of compliance with the requirements of the ISM Code, particularly
with regard to:
.1 knowledge and understanding of the ISM Code;
.2 mandatory rules and regulations;
.3 the terms
of reference which the ISM Code requires that Companies should take into account;
.4 assessment techniques of examining, questioning, evaluating and
.5 technical or operational aspects of safety management;
.6 basic knowledge of shipping and shipboard operations; and
.7 participation in at least one marine-related management system audit.
3.2.3 Such competence should be demonstrated
through written or oral examinations, or other acceptable means.
3.3 Competence for initial verification and renewal verification
3.3.1 In order to assess fully whether the Company
or the ship complies with the requirements of the ISM Code, in addition to the basic competence
stated under 3.2 above, personnel who are to perform initial verifications or renewal
verifications for a Document of Compliance or a Safety Management Certificate must possess the
.1 determine whether the safety management system
elements conform or do not conform with the requirements of the ISM Code;
.2 determine the effectiveness of the Company's safety management system, or that of
the ship, to ensure compliance with rules and regulations as evidenced by the statutory and
classification survey records;
.3 assess the effectiveness of the
safety management system in ensuring compliance with other rules and regulations which are not
covered by statutory and classification surveys and enabling verification of compliance with
these rules and regulations; and
.4 assess whether the safe practices
recommended by the Organization, Administrations, classification societies and maritime
industry organizations have been taken into account.
3.3.2 This competence can be accomplished by teams which together possess the total
3.3.3 Personnel who are to be
in charge of initial verification or renewal verification of compliance with the requirements
of the ISM Code should have at least five years experience in areas relevant to the technical
or operational aspects of safety management, and should have participated in at least three
initial verifications or renewal verifications. Participation in verification of compliance
with other management standards may be considered as equivalent to participation in
verification of compliance with the ISM Code.
3.4 Competence for annual, intermediate and interim verification
Personnel who are to perform annual, intermediate and interim verifications should satisfy
basic requirements for personnel participating in verifications and should have participated in
a minimum of two annual, renewal or initial verifications. They should have received special
instructions needed to ensure that they possess the competence required to determine the
effectiveness of the Company's safety management system.
4 QUALIFICATION ARRANGEMENTS
Organizations performing ISM Code
certification should have implemented a documented system for qualification and continuous
updating of the knowledge and competence of personnel who are to perform verification of
compliance with the ISM Code. This system should comprise theoretical training courses covering
all the competence requirements and the appropriate procedures connected to the certification
process, as well as practical tutored training, and it should provide documented evidence of
satisfactory completion of the training.
PROCEDURES AND INSTRUCTIONS
Organizations performing ISM Code
certification should have implemented a documented system to ensure that the certification
process is performed in accordance with this standard. This system should, inter alia, include
procedures and instructions for the following:
.1 contract agreements
.2 planning, scheduling and performing verification;
.3 reporting results from verification;
issuance of Documents of Compliance, Safety Management Certificates and Interim Documents of
Compliance and Safety Management Certificates; and
action and follow-up of verifications, including actions to be taken in cases of major