Maintaining a company in the sea traffic implies to accept the idea that improving sea safety depends on the human factor. A study carried out by the Institute of Shipping Economics of Bremen, Germany revealed that 75% of the accidents have been caused by two factors: 1. Heavy workload 2. Insufficient training Another analysis was carried out by United Kingdom Protection & Indemnity Club, shows that 60% of the accidents are caused by human error. The human error is also responsible for 50% in the case of pollution, 65% in case of staff injury, and 90% in case of collisions.
The Australian Ministry of Transports and Communications reported in 1992 that approx. 75% of the accidents investigated were caused by human errors. From 1993, International Safety Management (ISM) code requires each company to implement and maintain its own Safety Management System (SMS). The safety Management system means a structured and documented unit which enables the implementation of the company policy of safety and marine pollution prevention.
In order to achieve these objectives, the shipping company establishes and maintains his own safety and marine pollution prevention policy. To guarantee safety operation of each ship and to make the proper link between shipping company and the staff on board, normally the company appoints one or more persons on-shore which have direct access to the highest management level. Among their responsibilities is the surveying the ship operation, pollution safety and prevention, assign the suitable resources and their related support on shore.A good safety and pollution prevention management both off- and on- shore implies that the operational responsibility is the ship captain’s but the overall responsibility asks for a deeper commitment of the on-shore management. The company clearly defines the captain’s responsibility as regards: implementing the policy, motivating the crew, making up the orders and checking the compliance with the specific exigencies, analyzing the safety Management system and informing about lack of compliance with the on-shore management.
Within the system the supreme authority belongs to the ship’s captain since it is up to him to take decisions on safety and pollution prevention. Within the System, the company establishes a set of procedures for: training the staff for the system implementation, making the schedules and instructions for the major operations on board, identify and describe the emergency situations and measures to take, identify the equipment and installations whose sudden damage may create dangerous situations.The system provides for specific measures to increase reliability of such equipment. The company performs internal audits to check if the activities related to safety and pollution prevention are in compliance with the implemented system, making periodical evaluations of its efficiency.
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