14 companies in compliance with SSMS

Captain Philip Hill

SO far 14 shipping companies have complied with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji’s new Safe Ships Management System (SSMS).

The authority’s acting chief executive officer, Captain Philip Hill, said the regulation that applied to the new system was the Maritime Safety Ship Management Regulation 2014. Capt Hill said the regulation came into force in 2014 and it has been five years since the regulation had been enforced, but had not been implemented.

“We started this process in July last year whereby we took the ship captains and crew under training and awareness on the regulation while included in those training were how they were to develop their SSMS documents,” he said.

“Any clarification on the development of the documents and the implementation timelines were provided by us and on completion of that we had progressive visits to all these companies, gauging the status of the developments of their respective documents.

“This is our first phase of enforcement process whereby we looked into the ships that were 16 metres in length mainly commercial operations passenger and cargo.

“The 14 that have complied have been issued with compliance certificates; this is an ongoing process where we will later go in after four or three months to see how they are implementing it on board.”

Capt Hill said the SSMS was a safety system that they tried to implement inside ships, establishing a safety culture for those on board and the company running the ship.

“Before it was only the ship master that was responsible for what happened on board, now it is the company too who have a responsibility so a system whereby all hazards are assessed and there is a risk assessment done on board and there are preventative measures put in place.

“There is a recording system that is put in place where everything on board is recorded so therefore in times of accidents we can easily locate faults.

“Following the seizure of Goundar Shipping Company’s operations, we have had arrangements with compliant companies to cover these routes so services will continue to be provided in these routes until the shipping company operations normalises.

“The SSMS system is electronic and they have designated a person in each company that monitors the implementation process and they get in touch with authorities on the changes needed on board their vessels.”

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