What ISM Certificates You Require to Start a Shipping Company?

If you are planning to open a shipping company with merchant ships to ply on international waters for export and import of cargo, one of the first things to be eligible to do this business is to comply with the International Management Code for the safe operation of ships and pollution prevention.

International Safety Management Code is a set of guidelines for shipping companies and their employees, both on ship and shore, to ensure that the ship and the companies are operating as per guidelines of SOLAS i.e. safety is never compromised and pollution awareness is present.

As per ISM code under SOLAS chapter IX, a company shall be issued with Document of compliance (DOC) and its ships are issued with Safety Management Certificates (SMC) only after ensuring that the company has a Safety Management System (SMS) and all ships are operated as per the SMS.

start shipping company

Understanding DOC

A Document of Compliance or DOC is issued to a company based on the type of ship. This means that the DOC will be different for different types of ships i.e. if the company have10 containers and 10 oil tankers then 2 different DOC will be issued, one to the container fleet and the other to the tanker fleet.

DOC is issued under the authority of the flag state government by successfully auditing and reviewing companies SMS and its implementation.

Types of DOCs

Interim DOC

  • An interim DOC is issued to a newly established company or when a new type of ship is added to the company
  • The company is requested to submit an SMS implementation plan and 12 months are given to the company for fulfilling the ISM requirements.
  • The company shall undergo an initial audit, and in case of a newly built shipping company within the validity period of interim DOC i.e. 12 months.
  • The company shall undergo an additional audit in case a new ship type is added to the shipping company within the validity period of interim DOC i.e. 12 months.
  • For a new company, further document review is conducted prior to the audit by the administration.

Short Term DOC

  • A short term DOC is issued on the day of the audit by the administration auditor as a response or proof of completion of the initial, annual or renewal audit process.
  • The validity of short term DOC is 5 months.

DOC

  • It is issued by the administration after successful completion of initial audit or fulfilment or interim DOC requirements.
  • Issued after at least three months of implementation of SMS at the company and at least one ship in the fleet for which DOC is concerned.
  • The validity of DOC, after the initial audit, is 5 years from the next date of expiry and it is subjected to annual audit.
  • If a Major NON Conformity is found in the audit, the DOC is withdrawn.
  • The DOC is kept with the company and a copy is kept in all the ships under that DOC fleet.

Understanding SMC

 A Safety Management Certificate is issued to the ship of a DOC holding Company by the administration.

Every individual ship must have an SMC which ensures that it complies with the onboard Safety Management Manual based on ISM.

If a company owns 25 oil tanker ships, then SMC is issued to each ship with a total of 25 SMC.

SMC is issued after successfully auditing the ship for making sure that it is operating as per the SMS based on ISM code.

Types of SMC

1.  Interim SMC

  • Issued to the company which posses Main DOC, Interim DOC or Short term DOC.
  • Issued to the newly built ship added to the existing fleet of the shipping company.
  • Issued to a new ship with change in Management Company.
  • Issued to a company with a change in the flag state.
  • Its Validity is for 6 months.
  • A ship undergoes an initial audit with interim SMC and it must fulfil the entire requirements to comply with the SMS based on ISM code to get the main SMC.

2.  Short Term SMC

  • A short term SMC is issued on the day of the audit by the administration auditor as a response or proof of completion of the initial, annual or renewal audit process.
  • The validity of short term SMC is 5 months.

3.  SMC

  • It is issued by the administration after successful completion of initial audit or fulfilment or interim SMC requirements.
  • The validity of SMC, after the initial audit, is 5 years from the next date of expiry and it is subjected to an intermediate audit.
  • The intermediate audit is carried out between the second and the third-anniversary date of the ship.
  • If a Major NON Conformity is found in the audit, the SMC and DOC are withdrawn.
  • The original SMC is kept on the ship and a copy is kept with the company.

You may also like to read-What are the Essential Requirements for Unattended Machinery Space

References:

SOLAS Chapter IX

11 Comments

  1. Thanks, this is a good refresher or primer. It gives those not in the day to day business of ship-management an update of this subject.
    Regards,
    Nigel

  2. Anish, how are you ,am interested in Shipping Business,i have no idea of how to go about it am just a Business minded person from my youth, i have some business that i started from the begining and Nurture it to be succesfull. I have strong believe that i can do well in Shipping business.

  3. Many thanks for your contributions on DOC and SMC.

    Please is it possible for a DOC to be issued to two different locations of a company?

  4. May i have an explaination on how can we defferentiate between short term certificate and long term certificate in starting ship bussiness

  5. Dear Sir ,

    Good day!

    We are planning open a ship technical manning company .

    So please guide require docs for open a company.

    Regards
    Sangrama

  6. We can help with all technical aspects including creating the SMS, technical management, ships’ inspections, technical ship’s verification and audits.

  7. Very well written! It throws good insight to shipping industry one of the most important documents to keep office and ship in business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.