Tag Archives: The ISM code

ISM certification- A handy guide

Navsregs>Ship Certification>CSR

wpid-wp-1438103199200.jpegDocument of Compliance (DOC) and Safety Management Certificate (SMS)

Time to go backwards in this series of posts to fill a gap. The exploration of environmental related certificates will be put on pause whilst the ISM certificates are covered, certificates that should have appeared within the managing ship section of the blog.

The ISM code’s full name is ‘The International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention‘. The ISM Code provides an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention.

Click here for the IMO ISM webpage>IMO

What  Certificates must be held?

Ships must hold two ISM certificates:

  • Document of compliance- Issued to the Company
  • Safety Management Certificate -Issued to the vessel

Click here for the IMO guidlines for implimentation of the code> Resolution A.1071(28)

Why are the certificates required?

The requirement for these certificates arise from  SOLAS Chapter IX, Management for the Safe Operation of Ships’.

Document of Compliance (DOC)

The  “Document of Compliance” (DOC) is issued to a Company which complies with the requirements of the ISM Code following  verification of compliance with the requirements of the ISM Code.

How long is the DOC valid?
The DOC is valid for a period of five years and subject to annual verification within three months before or after the anniversary date to confirm the effective functioning of the SMS.

What is a SMS?

A Safety Management System means a structured and documented system enabling Company personnel to implement effectively the Company safety and environmental protection policy.

What information is contained on the document?

  • Name and address of Company
  • Types of ship
    • Passenger ship
    • Passenger high-speed craft
    • Cargo high-speed craft
    • Bulk carrier
    • Oil tanker
    • Chemical tanker
    • Gas carrier
    • Mobile offshore drilling unit
    • Other cargo ship
  • Validity date

Safety Management Certificate (SMC)

Safety Management Certificate (SMC) means a document issued to a ship, which signifies that the Company and its shipboard management operate in accordance with the approved Safety Management System; it is a certificate issued to an individual ship.

SMC should be issued to a ship following an initial verification of compliance with the requirements of the ISM Code. The SMC is valid for a period of five years.

The validity of the SMC is subject to at least one intermediate verification, confirming the effective functioning of the SMS, and that any modifications carried out since the previous verification comply with the requirements of the ISM Code.

What information is contained on the certificate?

  • Name of ship
  • Distinctive numbers or letters
  • Port of registry
  • Type of ship
  • Gross tonnage
  • IMO Number
  • Name of ship
  • Name and address of Company:
  • Validity date

Click here for  ‘MSIS 2 The ISM Code‘,  UK MCAs guidance for surveyors>

wp-1448920746660.jpegClick here for the Amazon page for a really handy guide to the ISM code. A revision guide for mariners.

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A Really Handy Guide to the ISM Code-A new revision aid for Kindle


I have just published the next book in the Really Handy Range. This one is a move a way from the looking out of the bridge windows towards wider shipboard operations.

The ISM code is deceptive; as a piece of international shipping legislation it appears small and vague, and yet, it has huge power to determine how ships are operated. Its relatively few words influence every aspect of vessel operations, both afloat and ashore. Sitting at the centre ofship’s safety, ISM  links all maritime safety laws, guidance and procedures together.


A good understanding of the ISM code is therefore required by all personnel involved in ship operations, and this book will assist in achieving that understanding. This Really Handy Book is aimed primarily at those studying for Officer of the Watch, Chief Mate’s, Second Engineer’s, Master’s, and Chief Engineer’s qualifications. It will also be of use as a reference source or refresher for qualified personnel. It is not a legal textbook though, so for legal advice refer to the source documents, or appropriate books. This Really Handy Book contains a description of the code, a revision aid.


Click here for the book’s Amazon page>

If you download the new book I recommend following this blog. Over the next few posts I will be exploring a wide range of topics with connections to the code. However, I cannot promise that I will resist the temptation to entirely stay clear of my favourite topic-the collision regulations.

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