The Bahamas Shipowners Association, in close cooperation with the Bahamas Maritime Authority, is committed to the upkeep of high safety standards, and the Bahamas Flag is ranked among the very top with regard to results from Port State Controls. This is a result of long-term and continuous safety building efforts between the Bahamas shipowners and the Bahamian Maritime Authority.
The term Safety in shipping is used to cover numerous aspects, from navigational safety, i.e. sailing a ship safely from A to B, to the health-related safety of each and every merchant sailor. However, regardless of the scope, in the end all is related to such aspects as training, the correct functionality of onboard equipment as well as the construction and maintenance of a ship as to create a safe and healthy work environment for the seafarers onboard and supporting seafarers in their roles onboard. This is part and parcel of running a successful business in shipping, and the Bahamas Shipowners Association works actively with supporting its members on achieving high standards of safety as an integrated part of their business’s daily operation.
From a regulatory perspective, the basis for safety work undertaken by shipping companies is found in the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, which was implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1993. The framework forms a mandatory quality system for all merchant ships in the world.
The ISM code stipulates the basic requirements for inspection of the organisation and functions of shipping companies, whereby authorities define who is responsible for the running of the company’s ships after which an authority will issue a Document of Compliance (DOC), stating that the company is qualified to run a shipping business. Each of the company’s ships will then undergo a separate inspection to obtain the corresponding Safety Management Certificate (SMC) once it is ensured that the shipping company has a Safety Management System (SMS) and that the ships operated by the company are operated in accordance with the SMS.