Ship Safety

The ISM Code provides an internationally-recognized standard for the safe operation of ships and pollution prevention

International Safety Management (ISM) Code

Compliance with the ISM Code is mandated by Chapter IX of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).



The ISM Code is mandatory for the following ship types:

  • passenger ships on international voyages;
  • oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas carriers, bulk carriers and cargo high-speed craft of 500 GT and above on international voyages;
  • other cargo ships and mobile offshore drilling units of 500 GT and above on international voyages.



The ISM Code sets the following objectives:

  • ensure safety at sea;
  • prevention of human injury or loss of life;
  • avoidance of damage to the environment, in particular, to the marine environment and to property;
  • provide safe practices in ship operation and working environment;
  • establish appropriate safeguards against all identified risks to the ship, personnel and the environment; and
  • continuously improve safety management skills of personnel ashore and aboard ships.


Company Responsibility for Implementation

Responsibility for implementing ISM Code safeguards and procedures against safety and pollution risks tailored to the vessel operation rests with the Company.

The Company means the owner of the ship or any other organization or person such as the manager, or the bareboat charterer, who has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship from the shipowner, and who on assuming such responsibility, has agreed to take over all duties and responsibility imposed by the ISM Code.


Safety Management System (SMS)

Every Company is responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining a Safety Management System (SMS) ensuring compliance with mandatory rules, regulations and other applicable requirements.

The SMS includes the following requirements:

  • a safety and environmental protection policy;
  • instructions and procedures to ensure safe operation of ships and protection of the environment in compliance with relevant international and flag State legislation;
  • defined levels of authority and lines of communication between, and amongst, shore and shipboard personnel;
  • procedures for reporting accidents and non-conformities with the provision of this Code;
  • Procedures to prepare for and respond to emergency situations; and
  • Procedures for internal audits and management reviews.


Safety Management Manual (SMM)

The Company should establish and maintain procedures in a Safety Management Manual to control all related documents and data relevant to the SMS.

Each ship should carry on board all documentation relevant to that ship.


ISM Certificates

Luxembourg applies the standard IACS procedure for ISM Code Certification with no additional national requirements.

Two certificates are required by the ISM Code:

  • Document of Compliance (DOC) verifying that the Company complies with the ISM Code;
  • Ship Safety Management Certificate (SMC) confirming that the vessel’s shipboard management and its Company operate in accordance with the approved safety management system.

Circular CAM 009/2018 – IACS PR 9 – Procedural Requirements for ISM Code Certification