ISM ( International Safety Management ) Code means the International Management Code for the Safe operation of ships and for Pollution Prevention. ISM Code aims to ensure safety at sea, prevention of human injury or loss of life, and avoidance of damage to the environment, particularly the marine environment, and to the property. ISM emphasises on the essential ingredient of Shipping Management that, every company should develop, implement and maintain a Safety Management System ( SMS ) to the Code. But this does not mean that the code is trying to tell the company how to go about running their business. It is up to the company how to go about implementing the codes.
To achieve the aims of ISM Code, each company should establish a safety and environmental protection ( SEP ) policy which is implemented and maintained by all staffs both ashore and onboard ship.
The Assembly adopted resolution A.443(XI), by which it invited all Governments to take the necessary steps to safeguard the shipmaster in the proper discharge of his responsibilities with regard to maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment. The Assembly also adopted resolution A.680(17), by which it further recognized the need for appropriate organization of management to enable it to respond to the need of those on board ships to achieve and maintain high standards of safety and environmental protection. Recognizing that no two shipping companies or shipowners are the same, and that ships operate under a wide range of different conditions, the Code is based on general principles and objectives. The Code is expressed in broad terms so that it can have a widespread application. Clearly, different levels of management, whether shore-based or at sea, will require varying levels of knowledge and awareness of the items outlined. The cornerstone of good safety management is commitment from the top. In matters of safety and pollution prevention it is the commitment, competence, attitudes and motivation of individuals at all levels that determines the end result.