ISM / ISO Audit, sample questions from Martin's Marine Engineering Page

Certification Assistance for Marine Engineers

ISO ISM Audit Questions

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On this page you will find many questions. These questions were part of the ISM / ISO certification process that our company went through (2000), also known as the safety audit.

You will notice that most questions do not pertain to the engineering staff of the ship, further more, you will notice that allot of the questions don't even applied to shipboard staff. But nonetheless, the crew on the ship I was on was nervous about the type of questions they would face. And for your information, the auditor did spend about fifteen minutes with the lowest rank in the engine room! So, to help relieve some stress and help you get your mind on the right track, I present these questions for your perusal.

Please feel free to use the discussion forum or the contact form should you have comments or any other questions about these questions.... any question?

On to it...

The number at the front of a question is suppose to be the reference to the ISM code.


1.1 How well understood is the object of the ISM Code?

5.0 Verify the addresses and contact numbers of the company’s head office and regional office.

7.0 Determine that staff knows location of definitions in FSM (fleet safety manual).

7.0 Core understanding of definitions of "observation" and "non-conformity".

8.1 Check availability of publications in departmental libraries.

1.0 Is the commissioner’s safety policy posted prominently?

1.4 What is the posted version date?

1.0 Is staff familiar with the safety policy?

2.0 Is the drug and alcohol Policy posted prominently?

2.0 What is the posted version date?

2.3.2 Does staff know the rule on impairment?

2.3.5 Does staff know the five hour rule?

2.3.6 Does staff know their obligation in turning over a watch?

Does supervisory staff know the over-all organizational structure for the FSM?

Does staff know the ship specific organizational structure for the FSM?

Do supervisors have a reasonable understanding of the position responsibilities of the Director of Operations?

Does staff have a reasonable understanding of the position responsibilities of the Commanding Officer?

Does staff have a reasonable understanding of the position responsibilities of their Department Head?

Does the Marine Superintendent have copies of job descriptions?

Are copies of job descriptions held aboard?

Has staff received a copy of their own job description?

Does the job description held by the staff member agree with the job description for the position that is held ashore by the Marine Superintendent?

4.0 Who Is the NDPA? (Shore Managers and RDPA’s)

4.0 Who is the RDPA? (All personnel)

2.0 & 3.0 Evidence of ships being advised of temporary replacement of the DPA? Does this tally with shore records of absence of the DPA?

4.0 Verify contact numbers of the RDPA

Verify DPA's are familiar with their responsibilities.

1.1 Verify Commanding Officer is aware of own responsibility.

1.2 Number of items reported to the DPA since the last audit. Compare against register of non-conformances.

1.3.2 Evidence of systematic reviews of safety and pollution prevention activities.

1.3.4 Have activities been undertaken to motivate crew?

1.3.9 What is last date shown for review of on-board plans and procedures? Has review been conducted regularly?

2.2 Evidence that Commanding Officer is conversant with the FSM.

2.4 Verify that orders and instructions are posted, dated, and signed.

2.5 Obtain records of on-board safety meetings and drills. Are they regular?

2.6 Has systematic review been conducted so that all procedures have been reviewed within a two-year period?

2.6 Has crew been involved in the review of the system?

2.6 Records of RDPA being notified of reviews conducted?

2.6 RDPA records follow up or tracking to ensure reviews being completed.

3.1 Seek evidence that Commanding Officer fully understands and is prepared to exercise authority as may be required by circumstances or conditions.

3.3.1 Sight copies of Commanding Officer’s Standing Orders.

3.4.1 Are Night Orders used regularly?

4.0 Review logbook entries for drills, exercises, and inspections.

4.0 Review minutes of Safety Management Meetings - check to ensure all items have been actioned or corrective action plan is in place to deal with outstanding items.

4.0 Review file of non-conformance reports.

4.0 Review record of review of manual procedures. Are reviews conducted regularly?

4.0 Is Fleet Safety Manual up-to-date? Confirm manual number (or numbers if more than one held) against DPA register.

1.1 Review personnel records of Commanding Officers for certificates, CPE, and medical.

2.1.1 Seek evidence that methods employed to ensure officers are qualified for positions held.

2.2.1 Seek evidence that methods employed to ensure crewmembers are qualified for positions held.

2.3.1 Verify competency profiles have been established for each ship and that they are posted.

4.1 Obtain records of training conducted.

5.2 What is the designated language of work aboard the ship?

5.3 By observation, are there individuals aboard who do not appear familiar with the use of the language designated for use aboard the ship?

2.2 Are there signed competency profiles for all ships in the region on file?

2.2 Are the certification requirements in the competency profiles in accordance with the company’s and the crewing regulations?

2.3 Seek evidence that the Marine Superintendent ensures that persons assigned to ships have met the competency and certification standards?

2.3 Take representational sample of Marine Superintendent’s crewing records and compare against competency profiles.

2.3 Does the Marine Superintendent conduct reference checks and does the Marine Superintendent authenticate certification documents?

2.4 How many occasions since the previous audit has the marine superintendent informed the Operations Center that the competency profile is not sufficient to meet planned operations?

2.5 Review requests for Exemption, are they signed by the marine superintendent and counter signed by the DPA?

2.6 Seek evidence that the Commanding Officer reviews certificates and records when personnel sign-on.

2.7 Have the competency profiles been developed by the Commanding Officer in consultation with the Director of Operations?

2.8 Are heads of departments continually monitoring and assessing subordinates? Sight records.

3.1 Does the Marine Superintendent maintain a register of seafarer certificates?

3.1 Is there evidence that the Register is sighted quarterly?

3.1 Is there evidence of follow-up when certificates are expiring or have expired?

3.3 Are competency profiles established and posted for all positions under all operating regimes aboard the vessel?

3.4 Is there at least one entry level position shown in the competency profiles for each department?

3.5 Has minimum manning been established in line with the SAR competency profile for the vessel?

3.6.1 Is there evidence that qualifications are compared against certification and competency requirements before assigning the seafarer to the vessel?

3.6.2 Is there evidence that newly appointed seafarers are familiarized before assuming duties aboard?

3.6.2 Is there evidence that newly appointed seafarers are supervised before assuming unsupervised duties aboard?

3.7.2 Do filed copies of exemption requests provide evidence that the situation-giving rise to the request was sudden and unforeseen?

3.7.4 Are exemption approvals given and signed by the appropriate authority?

3.7.4 Is there any evidence that the ship sailed in advance of an exemption authority being received?

3.7.5 Is there any evidence that the ship has sailed with more than one exemption being used in a department?

3.7.6 Where exemptions have been granted, did the exemptee have a certificate not more than one level below the level of certificate required for the voyage?

3.7.6 In the case of Commanding Officer exemptions, where such exemptions have been granted, did the exemptee hold a Master’s qualification not more than one level below the certificate require?

3.7.7 What evidence exists to support the fact that the Marine Superintendent conducted a search for a suitably certified and qualified individual before requesting an exemption?

3.7.8 How was the practical ability of the examples assessed?

3.7.9 Were exemptions granted only for the minimum period required?

3.7.9 Is there any evidence that an exemption was relinquished immediately upon the availability of a qualified person?

3.7.10 Were exemption requests filled out completely?

3.7.11 Have exemption requests been properly reported through the system to the Safety Management System Review?

3.8.1 Do all persons aboard possess appropriate medical certification?

3.8.2 Are special medical evaluations completed following Iong absences for Illness or Injury?

3.8.3 Is there evidence of a scheduling system to ensure medical evaluations are completed on a timely basis?

3.8.4 Are there records of any person being removed from ships as a result of an "unfit' medical evaluation?

Annex A Sight posted competency profile for completeness, signatures, and dates.

2.1 Has the Commanding Officer given directions on the content and scope of the familiarization materials?

3.1 Is time is allowed on board the ship for new personnel to become familiar with their duties? Does this vary by position and are time limits appropriate?

3.2.1 Is there evidence that all first time joiners have received familiarization training?

3.2.2 Is there a process in place which ensures that previous service is checked to ensure that all joining personnel with more than six months elapsed since lost service aboard are re-familiarized?

3.3.1 Is there a familiarization checklist used and does ft meet the minimum requirements of the FSM?

3.3.2 Do all new Personnel complete supervised on-the-job training during their first week aboard?

3.3.3 Is there evidence that new personnel are not standing watches or performing duties unsupervised?

3.3.5 Site familiarization-training records and compare against Ship's Book.

3.4.1 Have processes and procedures ashore that are essential to ensure the effectiveness of the safety management system been Identified?

3.4.2 Site familiarization checklists used ashore.

3.4.3 site shore site familiarization training records.

3.1 Is there evidence that supernumerary personnel have been familiarized prior to sailing?

3.3 Are there Copies of the declaration of Health for all supernumerary personnel that have been carried aboard?

3.4 Have non-employees of the Department completed the passenger waiver and Release Form?

3.5 Have Supernumerary personnel signed the Ship's Book on joining and departing?

3.6 Is there evidence that personnel who have refused to sign the Ship's Book or complete the declaration of health having been refused carriage?

2.2 Has identified training been provided in a timely fashion?

2.3 Are individual training records maintained and are they complete?

2.4 Are training plans available?

3.1.1 Are training requirements identified and are they reviewed biennially?

3.1.2 Are annual training plans in place for each employee?

3.1.3 Are unique unit-specific training requirements identified and is there a training plan in place for these elements?

3.2.1 Have shore managers satisfied training to IMO Course 6.03?

3.2.2 Have crewing officers satisfied training to IMO Course 5.04? Have employees been provided with training necessary to the safe performance of their positions? Are there records of training having been completed satisfactorily before employees are tasked with completing duties unsupervised?

3.4.1 Are training records maintained detailing employee’s work and training history?

2.1 Do the Commanding Officer’s Standing Orders contain specific Instructions related to access to the bridge?

3.3 Are Office-of-the-Watch familiar with their authority to suspend visits to the bridge where necessary?

3.5 Are restricted entry signs posted at entrances to the bridge?

2.2 Are the watchkeeping arrangements on the bridge adequate for the conditions and operations?

3.1 Are the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea available on the bridge and is there evidence that the OOW's observe the Regulations?

3.2 Are watches conducted-in accordance with the Watchkeeping Standards?

3.2 Has the Commanding Officer issued specific practices and procedures for the conduct of a watch and are these instructions known and followed?

3.3 Are changes of watch logged?

3.3 Is the time when the commanding officer assumes control of navigation logged?

3.4 Have all watchkeepers attended a Bridge Resource Management Course?

3.5 Is the rest period called for in the watchkeeping Standards observed?

3.1 Are voyages pre planned?

3.2 Is the voyage plan communicated before the voyage commences?

3.2 Is there anecdotal evidence that suggestions for improvements to the voyage plan are solicited or welcome?

3.3 Is it clear to all watchkeepers when the vessel is to be operated in pilotage mode?

3.4 Are modified plans used for operational phases?

3.5.1 Are appropriate folios or charts carried for the intended voyages?

3.5.2 Are charts corrections up-to-date with the latest Notice to Mariners?

4.0 Are voyage plans on file and do they appear to have been prepared completely?

3.1 Has the Commanding Officer issued clear instructions to be followed in case of restricted visibility?

3.3 Does the ship use a checklist in restricted visibility and is the use of the checklist logged? Is the commanding officer informed when the ship enters confined waters? Is the engine room informed when the ship enters confined waters? Is there evidence that the ship employs closer attention to the position of the ship when in confined waters? Is there evidence that more than one method of fixing is used?

2.1 Has the commanding officer issued any amplifying orders regarding the use of lookout are these orders understood and followed?

2.3 Do lookouts report for duty in advance of the required time to allow-for adjustments to conditions?

3.1 Are lookouts employed as required by the Canadian Watchkeeping Standards?

3.2.1 Does the OOW ensure that each lookout is fit for duty?

3.2.2 Are the names and times of the watch logged for each lookout? Is there anecdotal evidence that lookouts are employed solely for that purpose? Does the OOW brief the lookout on the duties of the position? Are the means of communication between the OOW and lookout known and tested? Does the OOW ensure that lookouts are relieved regularly to ensure fitness and efficiency?

3.3.1 Is there anecdotal evidence that lookouts understand the duties of their position?

3.3.3 Do Lookouts report when they are relieved and by whom?

3.1 Are deck officers familiar with the contents of Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters?

3.2 Is there evidence that closer attention is paid to navigation of the ship when in ice covered waters and that navigation instruments are tested and checked?

3.3 Has the ship prepared checklists for conducting operations in ice covered waters?

3.1.1 Does the ship use an anchoring plan when coming to an anchorage?

3.1.1 Is this plan communicated to the Bridge Team? Has the Engineroom been notified of intentions and requirements for auxiliary machinery? Has maneuvering machinery been tested and logged?

3.1.4 Does the ship observe the practice of walking out the chain in deep anchorage?

3.2.1 Are confined spare entry Procedures in Place for entering the chain locker?

3.2.2 Do personnel entering the chain locker wear the appropriate protective equipment?

3.2.5 When removing personnel from the chain locker is anchor hoisting stopped?

2.3 If required, does the ship have checklists for transiting canals?

2.3 If the ship does not carry a checklist, and if a canal has been transited since the previous audit, is there a plan on file?

3.1 Are canals Regulations and Sailing Directions carried as may be appropriate?

3.2.1 Are primary and secondary communication established with line handling location before transit?

3.2.4 Is the Engineroom informed to verify standby and required equipment is tested and ready?

3.2.5 Are winches tested prior to transit and is this it logged?

2.2 Does the crew understand who is the commanding officer’s delegate for the supervision of cargo operations?

3.1 Are the requirements of the tackle Regulations observed in cargo handling?

3.2 Is the cargo handling crew wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment?

3.3.1 Can it be confirmed that the commanding officer’s delegate inspects slings, hooks, shackles, and other devices prior to operation?

3.3.2 Do the crane operators and the signalmen both understand and use appropriate hand signals?

3.3.3 Does the commanding officer’s delegate inspect cargo to be loaded?

3.3.4 Are the cargo plans used when necessary?

3.3.5 Are cargo plans used when requires by the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations?

3.4.1 Is the lift area free from debris and are tag lines adequately manned?

3.4.2 Is the access to the working area controlled?

3.4.3 Are cargo weights known so that SWL’s are observed?

4.0 Are SWL’s clearly marked on all lifting machinery and appliances?

1.1.1 Martin’s Marine Engineering Page rocks!

3.1 Are the fall protection standards of the Marine Occupational Safety and Health Regulations readily available?

3.1 Are fall protection systems inspected prior to use?

3.2 Is there evidence that Personnel routinely report deficiencies found with fall protection equipment?

3.3 Do fall-protection systems used aboard meet the minimum standards?

3.4 Is fall-protection systems quarantine after fall arrest until inspected and passed by a qualified person?

3.5 Are lockout systems used systematically and appropriately and is the use of lockouts logged?

3.6 Have appropriate checklists been created for work aloft or work over the side?

3.7 Are equipment records maintained In accordance with the procedure?

3.1.1 Has the Chief Engineer issued written instructions to subordinates for routine engineering tasks aboard the vessel?

3.1.1 Are the Chief Engineer’s Standing Orders signed and dated?

3.1.1 Is there evidence that engineers have seen the Chief Engineer’s Standing Orders?

3.2.1 Are engineering watches conducted in accordance with the Canadian Watchkeeping Standard and the Chief Engineer’s Standing Orders?

3.2.2 Are watch changes recorded in the Chief Engineer’s logbook? Are pre-watch inspections made? Is there evidence that a system is in place to ensure that the relieving engineer is made aware of ongoing work being performed in the engine room? Is there evidence that the engineer OOW determines that engine room personnel are capable of performing their duties?

3.4.1 Is a copy of the Canadian watchkeeping Standard accessible to Engine room personnel?

3.4.2 Have ship-specific instructions been written in sufficient quantity and detail to adequately cover the systems listed in this procedure? Are pre hand-over rounds completed by the departing engineer? Does the departing engineer record machinery that has been isolated, bypassed, or undergoing maintenance? Are log book entries completed and signed before the departing engineer is relieved? Is there evidence that the departing engineer OOW determines that the relieving engineer is capable of carrying out his or her duties? Is there evidence that abnormalities or deficiencies are discussed and/or rectified before the watch is handed over?

2.1 Is there evidence that the Commanding Officer knows if ballast water discharge restrictions are applicable to the ship’s zone of operations and that these regulations are observed?

2.2 Has the Marine Superintendent compiled a list of ballast water discharge restrictions that apply to the geographic zone of operations?

3.1 Are the voluntary Guidelines applied when transiting fresh water?

3.3 Are ballast operations planned to account for hull stresses, stability, sea conditions, and possible crossovers from the fuel system?

3.4 Are ballast operations logged?

3.5 Has the ship been issued with directions issued by local authorities respecting ballast water discharge?

4.0 Site the Oily Water Separator Records.

2.1 Is there evidence that ship’s personnel are familiar with the Ship Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP)?

2.3 Are work scheduled established for bunkering operations?

2.4 Is there evidence that the Chief Officer is aware of local harbor regulations pertaining to bunkering operations?

3.1 Has the ship developed specific checklists for transfer of oil and bunkering operations?

3.1 Have the checklists addressed legislative requirements for bunkering and transferring?

3.2.1 Is the SOPEP available on the Bridge?

3.2.7 Does the ship have Insulating flanges or non-conductive hoses?

3.2.12 Is there evidence that the ship routinely pipes announcements related to fueling operations?

3.2.13 Is there evidence that NO SMOKING signs are posted when fueling?

3.3.1. Are fuel samples taken at least once per fueling?

3.3.4 Is there evidence that tanks have been loaded in excess of 95% of capacity?

3.5.2 Are blank flanges used on hoses as soon as they are disconnected?

3.5.4 Are final soundings of all fuel tanks taken upon completion of bunkering or transferring operations?

3.5.6 Are entries In the Chief Engineer’s logbook complete and correct?

5.7 Have entries been made in the Deck logbook stating the times of bunkering operations?

3.6.1 Has waste oil been disposed of through a contractor licensed or registered with provincial authorities?

Do entries in the Oil Record Book, the Chief Engineer’s Log, and the Deck Log materially agree?

Digitized by Martin for Martin's Marine Engineering Page, June 2000