Relationship between the ISM Code and the ISPS Code: which is more important – safety or security?

In shipping, both safety and security are needed. A shipowner could have a secure ship that is not safe, which in turn could lead to the ship being lost, no matter how secure it is. But if the ship is not secure, it can be lost to acts of piracy and other related matters. Safety Management System (ISM Code’s sub-section) ensures that:

  • Compliance with Mandatory Rules and Regulations
  • Applicable Codes, Guidelines and Standards recommended by the Organization (IMO), Administrations (Flag States signatory to the IMO Conventions), Classification Societies (IACS – International Association of Classification Societies) and Maritime Industry Organizations (ICS – International Chamber of Shipping, International Marine Pilots Association – IMPA, International Federation of Ship Masters’ Associations – IFSMA, Intermanager and Intercargo) are taken into account.

There is a relationship between the different standards and a need to cope with the issued certificates; a full set of certificates has to be retained at all times. Port State Control (PSC) inspections have a mechanism that will increase their severity; which parameters cause this needs to be understood by those dealing with the results. ISM Code has now been about in the shipping industry since the early 1990s. T ISM Code became available to the shipping industry and its mandatory application commenced on 1 July, 1998.