The NMA report "Focus on risks 2018", released during the annual Safety at sea conference in Haugesund, establishes the statistical basis for the special focus area. Safety management was also the special focus area in 2017, but will be continued in 2018 with a shifted emphasis to vessels of 24 metres maximum length and smaller.

Download the report

– We have chosen to keep up the pressure on demands for safety management with a speial emphasis on smaller vessels. Our research shows that accidents often stem from a lack of safety management in management. That is why we wish to remind vessel management that they have an independent responsibility for risk assessment to prevent accidents from happening, says Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Mr Olav Akselsen.

Statistics show that the fleet of vessels of 24 metres and smaller has a disproportionate amount of sinkings and mortality in vessel and personell accidents. Casualty reports show that a contributing factor to these accidents are lacking operational procedures and risk assessments.

Safety management related to operational safety and risk assessment of potentially dangerous operations, will be prioritized under inspections in 2018. These may be operations pushing the technical abilities of the vessel, for example towing operations, anchor handling, crane operations or trawling.

On January 1st, new regulations entered into force for safety management on smaller vessels. This means that Norwegian vessels not formally included in the ISM-code shall also have a safety management system, but this may be of a lesser extent than a larger vessel.

The NMA offers assistance

- We wish shipowners to succeed in establish safety management systems. To assist them in this goal, the NMA has compiled guidance for how to achieve this. The NMA will also provide counselling and simple risk assessment systems for those in need, says Akselsen.

In the report "Focus on risks 2018" shipowners will find advice and check lists for establishing a safety management system.

Systematic work

The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) finds systematic safety management to be an important instrument in order to prevent accidents. Increased focus on safety culture and safety management systems and less detailed controls in our supervisory work is also in line with the international development.

Safety management is about establishing a system for achieving and maintaining a high level of safety, so that risks can be more easily managed. Simply put, it is about improving the end result by laying the proper groundwork. By establishing an organisational structure where management, planning, responsibilities, routines, procedures and resources are described, the operation can become safer and more effective.

Working systematically with safety management and learning from your own and other's experiences will in time create a good safety culture on board. In order to achieve continuous improvement of safety management, incidents need to be systematically reported and followed up, and the system itself must be evaluated on a regular basis.

Download checklist for special focus area 2018.