Vessel Safety Management System Launched
As Mowi Canada West’s Marine Vessel Safety Superintendent, it was Cindy Taylor’s job to develop a formal vessel Safety Management System for use in the fish farming industry.
Cindy has done such a good job that Transport Canada has provided very positive feedback after Cindy provided them with a copy of the Mowi “Vessel Safety Management & Operations Manual” for review and comment.
An independent marine consultant and Master Mariner since 1997, Cindy has been supporting Mowi’s vessel operations through the head office in Campbell River since December 2017. She brings 37 years of experience in the maritime industry that has included working in the Gulf of Mexico, South Pacific, Australia, the North Sea, and the Caribbean. Her resume includes working for offshore oil and gas sub-sea construction projects and global marine energy consultant work.
She explains that the Vessel Safety Management project became necessary because “Mowi’s fleet has reached the size where there needs to be some sort of formal safety management system in place, not only to demonstrate due diligence to regulatory bodies, but also to create a systematic process on board each vessel where a high standard of safety, environmental protection, and emergency preparedness is conducted, maintained, and documented.”
To achieve and define this, she had to list company and personnel responsibilities, conduct authority of specific personnel, operational responsibilities, vessel documentation, safe practices and procedures, emergency preparedness, drills and training, documentation of compliance, and emergency reporting procedures.
“I used the framework of an International Maritime Organization code called the ‘ISM Code’, or ‘International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention,’” she notes. “It has been in force since July of 1998 and is mandatory on all ships of 500 gross tons or more.”
Even though Mowi has no vessels to which the Code applies, the same need for an established process of safety management still exists within the Mowi fleet. It ensures safety at sea, prevention of human injury or loss of life, and avoidance of damage to the environment, in particular to the marine environment, and to property.
“I used the SMS systems on many vessels all over the world during the last 10 years I went to sea, and for several years now it has been part of the focus in my career as a marine safety management consultant, vessel inspector, and so on,” she recalls. “It is a system that works well, and since I had seen the effectiveness of it both in operating a vessel and as an inspector/auditor, it was the practical choice to use a proven system rather than re-invent the wheel.”
Cindy notes the system is still in the stages of vessel operations personnel and vessel managers adapting to it, but all results have been positive thus far.
“Identification and clarification of responsibilities, procedures, and regulatory requirements have been the key,” she adds. “The system clarifies for personnel what is expected of them as commercial mariners, and what they must do in order to establish the expected high standards of safety and preparedness that Mowi requires.
“The responsibilities of the production area managers/vessel managers are now clearly defined, and they will be able to establish compliance on all of their vessels by such approaches as designating a responsible person for each vessel, ensuring that their vessel operators are active in the processes and procedures, monitoring compliance, and ensuring that all activity is documented.”
Cindy adds that internal audits and vessel visits will also be used as a new tool to identify how the system is working, what can be improved, and what personnel training is required.