Oct 212009

imageMaritime New Zealand has issued the following advisory, which is also appropriate to other jurisdictions:

(COMES INTO FORCE ON 1JULY 2010 and supercedes MNZ Maritime guidance Notice Issue 5 – 2007)

This guidance notice is for:

  • companies operating New Zealand flagged vessels under the ISM Code
  • masters, officers and crew of New Zealand flagged vessels operating under the ISM Code
  • Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) safety inspectors, auditors and accident investigators
  • classification societies.


The purpose of this guidance notice is to advise interested parties of amendments made by the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) that will affect the implementation of Safety Management Systems.

The MSC held its 85th session from 26 November to 5 December 2008 at which it made several important decisions. The revised International Safety Management (ISM) Code, adopted by Resolution MSC.273(85), will enter into force on 1 July 2010.

New Zealand Maritime Rules Part 21.6 provides that:

  • the owner of a ship to which this rule applies must –
  • implement a safety management system complying with the International Safety Management Code; and
  • maintain a safety management system complying with the International Safety Management Code

Summary of amendments

Details of the specific amendments to the relevant provisions of the ISM Code are attached to this guidance notice. In summary, the amendments include:

  • Changing the definition of “major non-conformity” – this gives a less restrictive definition of a major non-conformity.
  • Adding “assess all identified risk to its ships” in the objective.
  • Adding a periodical review of the SMS as a master’s responsibility (previously masters were only required to review the SMS with no periodic requirement given).
  • Adding “measures intended to prevent recurrence” in the procedure for the implementation of corrective action reflecting the need to put in place both corrective and preventative actions.
  • Requiring companies to identify equipment and technical systems for which sudden operational failure may result in a hazardous situation (previously, companies were only required to establish a procedure for this).
  • Setting a mandatory internal audit frequency of one year (previously the requirement had been for internal audits and periodic assessment of the efficiency of the SMS).
  • Introducing a need for the company to assess the effectiveness of the SMS, rather than its efficiency.
  • Introducing possible 3 months extension of certificate, if a ship is not in a port (including change in the certificate form).

This summary is a general guide only. Full details of the amendments are included in Resolution MSC.273(85) and reference should be made to that document for comprehensive detail of the amendments.


Shipowners and ship managers must pay due attention to the changes, which will affect operator safety management systems, for example, the period of the internal audit is now identified as “not exceeding 12 months”.

Inspections and audits conducted by the Director of Maritime New Zealand on or after 1 July 2010 will include verification that all safety management systems comply with the ISM code as amended, in accordance with the requirements of Maritime Rules Part 21.6.

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