Lloyd's Register (LR) and the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced details of their joint initiative, introducing a totally new concept - the Passenger Ship Safety Management (PSSM) System. PSSM seeks to move the traditional process associated with Passenger Ship Safety Certification (PSSC) from being time intensive, fragmented and involving duplication of effort, to a streamlined, risk-based approach giving clear benefits to both shipping companies and the flag administration.
All companies operating passenger ships must demonstrate compliance with the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. The Code provides the basic framework upon which companies must base their systems. Many companies however, in order to minimise their 'business risk' have implemented processes and systems far in excess of the minimum standards required. The current regime of survey and inspection does not recognise this fact.
Initial enrollment of a ship into PSSM is a three-stage process. The company is required to demonstrate that it is implementing an enhanced management system ashore. The effectiveness of this is audited on-board and then verified through a full passenger ship safety survey. This results in issue of a PSSC. On a three-monthly basis, the company will be required to provide reports on progress made with on-going maintenance of safety-related equipment.
This risk-based approach based on management system audits, continuous monitoring of the planned maintenance system and reduced survey of hardware leads to demonstration of compliance with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and the continuing issue of the PSSC to the ship. Clear benefits to the owner are reduced survey time and costs, while he satisfactorily controls the maintenance of his ships and is able to demonstrate commitment to a safe operation. The flag administration benefits from more effective monitoring of the company and its ships and the assurance of continuous on-board monitoring and maintenance.