Addendum: Changes in policy

Maritime Safety Authority: Progress in implementing recommendations of the Review of Safe Ship Management Systems.

Maritime New Zealand (Maritime NZ) advised us that the following changes in policy regarding safety management systems have been approved and implemented subsequent to finalisation of this report.

Safe Operating Plans: Fishing Vessels

A potential conflict of interest, and risk to Maritime NZ, has been identified through an external audit of the Whangarei office regarding its current role in assisting operators of fishing vessels of 6-metres and under to develop Safe Operating Plans, issuing the certificates, and then carrying out a monitoring and compliance role through audits.

As a result it has been decided that “fishing vessel Maritime Safety Inspectors”, (and all other Maritime Safety Inspectors), will revert to their traditional role of identifying non-compliant operators of fishing vessels of 6-metres and under, and advising them of their responsibilities, and of the appropriate contacts such as Authorised Persons or SSM companies. They will then monitor these vessels to ensure that they are under a Safe Ship Management system or Safe Operational Plan, and will take appropriate action if not. Maritime NZ will not conduct the auditing function for these vessels – this role will be retained by Authorised Persons.

Maritime NZ staff will audit these Authorised Persons to ensure that they are carrying out their authorised role in a consistent and appropriate manner.

This change in policy took effect on 24 June 2005.

Safe Ship Management

Maritime NZ notes that it is critical to the success of the safety management system that the auditing process be carried out in the manner required by the Director of Maritime Safety to enhance responsibilities of vessel owners. If this cannot be achieved in a satisfactory manner, the recommendation of the Thompson Clarke review that Maritime NZ take back all audit functions will be revisited. The time period for such assessment of the success of SSM companies conducting auditing will be limited to December 2007.

As our report was being concluded, Maritime NZ had developed further initiatives as to how the Director’s intent in the delivery of SSM may be achieved under the existing Rule; that is, an emphasis upon risk-based interventions between the mandatory out-of-water surveys, a focus upon high-risk vessels by Maritime NZ and Safe Ship Management companies, and an incentive for owners to take full daily responsibility with commensurate rewards.

These initiatives were developed in conjunction with other strategies now in place, which include (and have been discussed in this report) that:

  • from September 2005 Maritime NZ district office staff will conduct initial audits of all new vessels entering Safe Ship Management;
  • the same staff will use SPAN to carry out risk assessments of high-risk vessels. This will require the Maritime Safety Inspectors physically attending the vessel for a system check and general inspection;
  • there will be no requirement for in-water inspections;
  • the 2- and 4-yearly out-of-water “inspections” will be surveys, carried out by the SSM company surveyors in attendance;
  • there will be no requirement for inspectors (the system now recognises only auditors and surveyors);
  • all safety and other equipment will be thoroughly checked at the 2- and 4-yearly surveys; and
  • risk-based audits by Maritime NZ staff will be carried out between the out-of-water surveys.

Maritime NZ is proposing a maximum interval between risk-based audits of 24 months Operational experience has, however, identified that this proposed cycle has been used for a strict annual cycle (in conjunction with the 2-yearly survey) to be perpetuated regardless of how well a vessel is being managed and operated. This was not the original intent of SSM.

The following proposals are now being developed in consultation with the maritime industry:

  • SSM companies will carry out one in-depth systems audit within a 12-month period, 6 months either side of the mid-term survey. This will be carried out, with the vessel in the water and fully operational, on all vessels regardless of risk.
  • SSM companies will retain the ability to require more frequent audits based solely upon the outcome of that audit; that is, risk-based. They will also retain the ability to require a full survey of the vessel and/or its equipment if necessary as an outcome of the audit. Should an SSM company require a shorter period for audits than the 24 months proposed, then this must be communicated to the operator explaining why a shorter period is required.
  • Separate from these SSM company surveys and audits, Maritime Safety Inspectors will carry out a risk assessment of all vessels in SSM at least once every 4 years.
  • Maritime Safety Inspectors will assess the risk of vessels operating within their district through SPAN and will target high-risk vessels. They will require the SSM company to survey the vessel and/or its equipment if necessary dependent on their findings.
  • SSM staff will continue to carry out risk assessments of all vessels within their systems at least once every 4years (usually at the mid-term audit).

In summary: SSM companies will carry out routine surveys, coupled with checks of the vessel’s equipment, at 2- and 4-yearly intervals (2.5-yearly and 5-yearly for oil-lubricated shafts), and a thorough systems audit of the vessel’s safety management system at mid-term.

Maritime NZ will carry out risk assessments of all vessels within the 4-yearly cycle; (as will SSM companies), will undertake initial audits, and will use SPAN (with input from SSM companies) to identify and assess high-risk vessels.

When required, and dependent on the findings of audits, an SSM surveyor is to be used for physical inspection of a vessel outside of the survey cycle.

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