From an international point of view, traffic safety is something Sweden excels at. Likewise, the shipping industry is at the forefront of maritime safety in practice as well as in theory. A catchall term, including everything from transport systems worldwide to the safety of each and every merchant sailor.
Maritime safety is one of the most essential prerequisites for running a successful business. Work involving safety at sea must therefore form a natural and integrated part of the shipping companies’ day to day operations.
Maritime safety is a broad term including everything from ship construction to maintenance to how professional the crews are. It is always the shipping company’s overall responsibility to provide optimal conditions and resources for propelling the ship safely at sea.
Sweden is ranked top five with regard to port state control of ships flying the Swedish flag . This is a result of long-term and continuous safety work in progress on-board and ashore by Swedish shipping companies, which can also be described as establishing a good culture for maritime safety. An example of proactive work involving safety at sea includes the development of ForeSea by the Swedish Shipowners’, a Maritime safety system for reporting incidents and allowing the shipping companies to share knowledge and information on maritime safety with each other with a view to prevent accidents. This system is voluntary and as such unique within the world of shipping.
The statutory basis for sea safety work undertaken by shipping companies constitutes of the ISM code, the International Safety Management Code. The code was agreed in 1993 through the international co-ordinating agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and is a mandatory quality system for the merchant navy worldwide. The ISM code covers basic control of organisation and function of shipping companies in which the authorities define who is responsible for the running of the ships and ultimately issues a Document of Compliance (DOC) certificate qualifying for running a shipping business. Each ship will then undergo a control to obtain the corresponding Safety Management (SMC) certificate.
The Swedish shipping industry is in many respects in the lead internationally with regard to developing a regulatory framework for damage and intact stability legislation, energy index and development of new fuels such as LNG and Methanol with the associated risk assessments.
To ensure such innovations work safely in a complete on-board propulsion system, not only must the crew be involved, but also academic research and the authorities. This inclusive approach is natural in the Swedish maritime cluster and one of the success factors in maritime safety work.