The International Safety Management Code (ISM) provides an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for prevention of pollution.
This is entirely in keeping with the company's policies in this area, which state that accident prevention, safety, and environmental protection have top priority in the company's planning, project operations and equipment maintenance. The ISM also furthers the corporate goal of fostering attitudes of careful awareness of safety and environmental concerns on the part of all its employees.
The code became a worldwide requirement for ship owners and operators when it was ratified by the International Maritime Organization in 1994, the U.S. Coast Guard in 1997, and has been incorporated into the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) rules. The code requires that ship owners develop and implement safety management systems for all their self-propelled ships of 500 gross tons and over. All of the NATCO and Great Lakes hopper dredges are affected by this international law.
The objective of the ISM Code is to reduce maritime accidents. It is estimated that over 80 percent of maritime casualties can be attributed to human errors in design, construction, maintenance and/or operations. The code focuses on management commitment and the development of and adherence to documented policies and procedures to assure safe vessel operation and protection of the marine environment. Activities and tasks that affect safety and environmental protection, both ashore and afloat, must be planned, organized, executed and verified to safeguard these values.
Over the last two years, the GLD&D Safety Department has developed a safety management system to assure that the company complies with the code. The system has been implemented on the company's hopper dredges, and there is an ongoing SMS familiarization training program for Oak Brook personnel and vessel personnel.
The ISMC is subject to independent, third-party audit. Vessel owners must obtain a fleet-wide Document of Compliance (DOC) and vessel-specific Safety Management Certificates (SMCs). The DOC is valid for sixty months; an annual verification audit of the Oak Brook office is required. SMCs are valid for sixty months and are subject to an intermediate verification audit aboard each hopper dredge every thirty months. A civil penalty will be imposed on owners and masters of vessels operated without proper certification and the vessel could be barred from entering or departing U.S. or foreign ports.
The Code became international law in nearly 150 nations on July 1, 1998.