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​​​Entered into force on 1st July 1988 as SOLAS Chap. IX, the ISM provides an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention. ​Its objectives are to ensure safety at sea, prevention of human injury, loss of life and avoidance of damage to the environment, with particular regard to the marine one.

It is applicable to all oceangoing ships over 500 GT and to their Owner or Management Company, which has assumed the ship operation responsibility.


The ISM Code requires owners and operators of ships to set in place a Safety Management System (SMS) embracing its objectives and involving the totality of the Company’s operations and managed ships.

The SMS allows a Company to measure its performance against a documented system, and it enables a Company to identify areas of improvement in safety practices and pollution prevention measures.


RINA SERVICES is recognized by about 100 Flags, with a worldwide network and high skilled auditors able to find out and identify the best suitable solutions for improving management systems weaker areas and preventing gaps, if any. 

When performing verifications, RINA SERVICES also takes into account specific requirements of individual Flag Administrations. We can also perform ISM certification for ships not classed with RINA SERVICES.

Moreover, RINA Academy provides training courses on Safety Management System in compliance with the ISM Code requirements (DPA, Internal Auditor, Refresher Course).


In accordance with the ISM Code and upon satisfactorily results, RINA SERVICES issues two statutory certificates:
  • DOC (Document of Compliance), to be issued to the Company
  • SMC (Safety Management Certificate), to be issued to each individual ship.
The ISM certification procedure consists of the following steps.

For the Company: Document of Compliance (DOC):
  • review of Safety Management System documentation
  • interim audit for issuance of interim DOC (valid one year)
  • initial audit and issuance of full term DOC (valid five years)
  • after the full term certificate issuance, 4 annual audits and DOC renewal audit after 5 years.

For the Ship: Safety Management Certificate (SMC):
  • after DOC issuance to the company, Interim audit for issuance of interim SMC, valid six months
  • initial audit and issuance of full term SMC (valid five years)
  • intermediate audit follows 3rd year of the certification period
  • SMC renewal after 5 years.


Which is the ISM range of applicability?
ISM is provided to companies operating ships engaged on international voyages, such as: passenger ships, including high-speed passenger crafts; oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas carriers, bulk carriers and cargo high-speed craft of 500 gross tonnage and upwards; other cargo ships and mobile (self-propelled) offshore drilling units of 500 gross tonnage and upwards.

What about harmonization of ISM, ISPS and other management systems certification?
RINA SERVICES offers also ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001​​ and ISO 50001 certifications​​, and may plan on a customized basis a suitable audits scheduling in a best practice view.

Is it possible for a multi-flagged Company to be certified?
Yes, the DOC will be issued by agreement among the Flag Administrations involved.
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