Allows for remote ISM audits

  • Published: 26/03/2020

Due to the coronavirus crisis, the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has laid down guidelines for carrying out remote ISM audits as well as interim SMC/DOC audits.

The NMA head office.
PHOTO: Sjøfartsdirektoratet / NMA

On 24 March this year, the NMA decided that annual, periodical and renewal audits according to the ISM Code, as well as verifications of interim SMC and DOC audits may be carried out as remote audits using digital means. This will apply until further notice.

How will supervision be carried out?

Our auditors will make phone calls or use Skype/Teams for opening meetings, interviews and closing meetings. Video conference options will be used if possible.

The companies must be able to present documents electronically by means of remote access, e-mail and conferencing tools, including audio, video and data sharing. Most shipping company employees are likely to work from their home office, and it is a precondition that they have access to and are able to share relevant information/documents.

How this will work in terms of efficiency is difficult to predict, and all parties involved must be aware that the audit time frame might be adjusted.

The objective of remote audits is to achieve the same results as obtained with regular audits. We are trying to carry out a systematic, independent and documented process of obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled.

An audit is requested in the regular way, and the lead auditor and the company will decide if it is possible to carry out the audit as a remote audit or it is necessary to extend the deadline by three months.

Possibility of extended deadline

When a remote audit is not possible, an extended deadline of three months will be granted without further approval by the NMA, as stated earlier.

Alternative options for internal audits – ISM 12.1

On 23 March 2020, the NMA decided that during the coronavirus crisis, companies may carry out internal audits as remote audits by means of digital communication solutions and data sharing and by the help of shipboard personnel.

An approval by the NMA is not required, provided that the company carries out a risk assessment of the remote audit process. Moreover, documented procedures for an alternative internal audit process must also be established.

If alternative processes are not available, internal DOC/SMC audits due to be completed by 12 June 2020 will have a three months extension of the deadline.

If the 12-months interval for internal audit is exceeded, this must be reported in the non-conformity systems and handled according to the company's internal procedures for non-conformity management.

Back to top