The Malta Flag Administration has recently published a “Technical Notice to Ship Owners, Ship Operators, Managers, Masters, Owners’ Representatives and Recognised Organisations” revisiting the procedure that is to be followed when filing International Safety Management (ISM) declaration forms at the Malta Registry of Ships. The previous procedure has been revised and a new ISM declaration form has been introduced, effective as from 1st January 2016. The new form can be downloaded here.
In all cases where the ISM Code requires ship owners of Maltese registered ships to complete the said declaration form, this new procedure must be followed. Whereas before the ISM declaration form was only signed by the Ship Owner, the new procedure requires both the Ship Owner and the Manager to sign the said declaration form.
In discussions between this law firm and the Malta Flag Administration it is being suggested that the Maltese Local Representative continues to sign the ISM declaration form on behalf of the Ship Owner and subsequently, a scan thereof be sent to the Managers for their counter-signature. It is further being recommended that the final scan with both signatures is then sent to the Malta Flag Administration, for the latter to then send an electronic acknowledgement of receipt of the ISM declaration form to the local representatives and also to the Managers.
The email sent by the Malta Flag Administration, acknowledging the receipt of the ISM declaration form, is an essential document for the operation of the vessel since it forms part of the vessels’ trading certificates. ISM auditors, Port State Inspectors and Flag State Inspectors will expect to see evidence on board the vessel that the ISM declaration form has been submitted and it will be the email from the Malta Flag Administration mentioned in the technical notice that will serve as such. Our advice to Ship Owners and Managers is to ensure that the email acknowledgment from the Malta Flag Administration, once received, is immediately printed and kept on board the vessel together with the ships’ papers to avoid delays if there is an unexpected request for evidence to be produced that the ISM declaration form was duly signed.
The Malta Flag Administration are internally discussing ways on how to make the procedure user friendly to Ship Owners, Managers and Ship Operators of Maltese flag vessels, and we will be keeping our readership updated as things develop on the ground.