What are the Duties of Ship Safety Officer?

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As per  the International Safety Management (ISM) code, every ship must appoint a ship safety officer (SSO) who has the knowledge, experience, and skills to look over the important safety issues related to ship and its crew’s health.

According to the ISM code, a ship’s safety officer should have a minimum of 2 years of consecutive sea service. In case of tanker ships the safety officer should have 6 months of experience on a tanker ship in addition to 2 years of consecutive sea service.

The appointed ship Safety officer should have the necessary qualities to properly take the responsibilities as per the relevant provision of the ISM code. He should also help in proper implementation of the ISM code on the ship.

Duties of ship safety officer

The safety officer of the ship is entitled to look over all the duties related to safety of the ship. Some of the important duties include:

  1. Safety Officer is the safety advisor onboard and provides valuable assistance to the company in meeting its health and safety objectives
  2. The safety officer shall be familiar with the principles and practice of risk assessment, hazard identification etc.
  3. He shall ensure that all personnel joining the ship are familiar with relavant health and safety arrangements.
  4. He shall regularly carry out health and safety inspection of the ship.
  5. He shall carry out monthly inspection of the ship LSA/FFA to ensure that they are ready to be used.
  6. The safety officer may stop any work that he reasonably believes may cause an accident and immediately inform master.
  7. The safety officer shall have an independent view of safety on behalf of the company
  8. The safety officer shall encourage the ship staff to work safely and explain them the cause of unsafe practise
  9. The safety officer has to be himself a role model for carrying our safe work.
  10. He should carry out investigation of accident.
  11. Maintain a record of all the accidents taking place on the ship, including death, major or minor injury, and near death experiences. Also, make this information available to the ship’s master, safety representative, or any official of the company.
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2 Replies to “What are the Duties of Ship Safety Officer?”

  1. Good day.
    Thank you for a very helpful article.
    However, I am trying to find which part of ISM code is the safety officer.
    Can you please tell me which part or page.
    Thank you very much in advance.

    1. As per ISM Code the Company is suppose to Develop Safety Management System (SMS) which shield provide for safe practices in ship operation and safe working environment. This responsibility is of master for implementing the safety policy of company hence it is implied as Safety officer.
      Although not prohibited, but appointment of the Master as the safety officer is not generally advisable as Safety officer is required to amongst other duties to make representations and recommendations on safety to master.

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