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H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L


S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : M A R I N E & M A R I T I M E

What is often not understood is that there is a

part of the ISM approach of having internal and

external audits, under which the identification

of deficiencies is sought; this is the object of

continuous improvement. It is hoped that the

safety management system will ultimately

deliver on the existing goal of zero accidents

and zero pollution.

The big question mark is how you can go

beyond the ISM Code, and that’s when you

start talking about things that are very

difficult to define, such as what is a genuine

safety culture.

As an organisation we have produced guidance

material on safety culture, but ultimately it’s

something that a shipping company has to

deliver for itself; it is not something that can be

bought from off the shelf.

The introduction of the Maritime

Labour Convention (MLC) has been

significant for the industry. What is

your perspective regarding the MLC

being ratified, and what implications

will it have for the industry?

Our organisation, as one of the social partners

at the ILO, was responsible for negotiating the

MLC. Obviously we believe it is a very welcome

and positive development. In reality it is a very

important development; however, it must be

understood as the codification of the listing of

best practices in the industry. The vast majority

of shipping companies should have very little

difficulty in complying with the MLC, with the

exception of the documentary requirements

that shipping companies now have to fulfil in

order to receive certification from government.

The main benefit of the MLC is that it reinforces

the notion of a level playing field on

employment standards so that the vast majority

of responsible operators are not at an unfair


he International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal

organisation concerned with representing the interests of

the global shipping industry. In this interview, Simon

Bennett, director of policy and external relations, details to Portal

the variety of challenges around improving safety, governance of

the sector, and the role of the EU when it comes to shipping.

What would you identify as the principal challenges

regarding safety at sea?

The principal challenge is actually how we introduce and guarantee a

safety culture in the industry. There are a lot of issues regarding safety

at sea, and of course, shipping is a high risk environment; it requires

careful management. However, we do still sadly have incidents on

occasions, where it does appear that the root cause is a failure to follow

established procedures.

What work is your organisation doing in order to

counter this and engage with ship owners and

operators and so on?

There are two main tracks really – one is to continue to encourage

correct implementation of the IMO International Safety Management

(ISM) Code, not least the requirements in the code whereby shipping

companies have to demonstrate continuous improvement.The whole

point of the ISM Code is that shipping companies have a proper safety

management system implemented, while environmental protection is

covered as well.

Navigating the waters

Simon Bennett,

of the International Chamber of Shipping, spoke to


outlining some of the issues, from safety to governance, that international

shipping is facing up to today

ICS works on a variety

of issues facing the

shipping sector