Pollution

This wide-ranging convention is the most recent to emerge from the IMO.  Its full name is The International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention. The first edition of the code was agreed in 1993. Its philosophy is simple, no matter how well qualified the personnel may be under the STCW convention, serious problems can arise if proper management systems are not in place. The need for an ISM Code became evident during the 1980s with the loss of the “Herald of Free Enterprise” where the ship foundered simply because there was no system in place to confirm to the bridge that the bow door were securely closed.  The ship left the shelter of the harbour before the doors were closed, water entered and due to the constriction of vehicle ferries at that time, the decks flooded and the ship foundered with considerable loss of life.  Had properly thought out written procedures been in place with adequate training, the disaster would never have happened. This was by no means the only loss due to lack of proper procedures and one particular area was the absence in many cases of a system of monitoring maintenance of the fabric of the ship.  Cape Size bulk carriers were being lost, some disappearing without trace, and damage due to catastrophic corrosion to the side shell plating allowing ingress of water was clearly to blame. Thus, the need for a Code of Practice involving the shore-based management as well as the ship’s personnel was seen as imperative so that to comply with the Code, the operators of the ship have to obtain a Document of Compliance (DOC) which covers shore-based procedures.  In addition, every vessel, as well as carrying a copy of the DOC on board, must also have its individual Safety Management Certificate (SMC).