Safety management systems are implemented to ensure that commercial vessels are maintained and operated safely to prevent maritime accidents and protect the marine environment.
Safety management systems are administered by Maritime New Zealand. These systems make ship owners and operators responsible for the daily safe operation of their vessels. This ensures that the safety of a vessel and its crew, and protection of the marine environment, is maintained throughout the year instead of just on an annual 'survey day'.
The introduction of safety management systems in New Zealand is in line with a global move to put ongoing safety measures in place to prevent maritime accidents and place the responsibility of this on vessel owners and operators.
Safety management systems cover construction, stability, equipment, operating limits, operating parameters, the qualifications of the vessels crew, training of crew, vessel maintenance emergency procedures, and health and safety considerations.
All commercial vessels are categorised as either SOLAS or non-SOLAS. SOLAS refers to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.
Non-SOLAS ships are essentially all commercial vessels that don't fit within the definition of a SOLAS ship. There are some exceptions - see the section above for further details.
Non-SOLAS ships are subject to Maritime Rule Part 21, section two. Section two applies to restricted limit ships, fishing ships and ships of less than 45 metres that go beyond restricted limits but are not SOLAS ships.
The Safe Ship Management system for Non-SOLAS ships is broken into the following separate categories:
Learn more about each of these categories by using the links below:
A SOLAS ship (as defined in Maritime Rule Part 21) is any ship to which the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 applies; namely:
There are some exceptions where certain commercial vessels are deemed to be SOLAS, although they do not meet the SOLAS criteria. Although these vessels are strictly non-SOLAS they are required to be in class and have an International Safety Management (ISM Code) system in place. As they are required to meet the same standards as SOLAS vessels it is easier to class them as SOLAS.
Non SOLAS ships that fit into the following criteria are considered to be SOLAS ships:
SOLAS ships (including those non-SOLAS vessels that meet the exceptions above) are subject to Maritime Rule Part 21, section 1 and Maritime Rule Part 40B.
The Safe Ship Management system for SOLAS ships is provided under the International Safety Management Code. This Code covers SOLAS vessels that are either both New Zealand-owned or , and foreign flagged vessels that are visiting New Zealand.
Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention
Skippers with an Inshore Launch Master (ILM) certificate are allowed to operate their vessels within their certified coastal limits out to 12 nautical miles off the coast of New Zealand, including crossing Cook Strait.
The Director of Maritime New Zealand may exempt a ship from complying with a maritime rule under certain special circumstances.
The monitoring of this system is done by approved Safe Ship Management companies on behalf of Maritime New Zealand. Approved SSM companies carry out inspections and audits from time to time; replacing the previous system of an annual survey. After each inspection, each vessel's safety profile is assessed. Higher risk vessels are inspected more often.
Every commercial vessel that operates under SSM must have and display a valid Safe Ship Management Certificate and operate in accordance with its Safety Management Manual. This Certificate is a SSM vessel's maritime document and it replaces the previous Survey Certificate.
The holder of the Safe Ship Management Certificate must themselves have passed a fit and proper person assessment. The Maritime Transport Act 1994 requires the Director of Maritime New Zealand to undertake a fit and proper person assessment for everyone who wishes to hold a maritime document.
Maritime Transport Act 1994 [New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office]
On the surveyor resource page you will find information about upcoming and past seminars, operational documents, links to other related resources and details on how to contact the Safety Management Systems Team.
If you require any further information about safe ship management, please contact Maritime New Zealand's Nautical Adviser, SMS.