Port staff mooring a container vessel at ABP Immingham Port staff mooring a container vessel at ABP Immingham
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Briefing Note: What makes a good Marine Safety Management System?

Our Briefing Note outlines the essential aspects of a PMSC-compliant Marine Safety Management System and provides tips on good practice.


A Marine Safety Management System, or MSMS, is one of the 10 key compliance measures required under the Port Marine Safety Code.

This is neatly summarised within the Code as measure 6, which says organisations and harbour authorities should

“operate an effective MSMS which has been developed after consultation, is based on formal risk assessment and refers to an appropriate approach to incident investigation.”

With over 400 Harbour Authorities, and numerous other marine infrastructure owners and operators, there are a wide variety of systems in active use.

The best systems are easy to follow and cut to the point. It is tempting to write everything down in case it is needed, but keeping the system as a high-level framework referencing policies, plans, SOPs and databases helps to make the MSMS succinct. It is also more likely to be used if it is quick and easy to navigate.

Our Briefing Note, "What makes a good Marine Safety Management System", summarises the essential aspects of a successful system, and provides tips on good practice.

Download the Briefing Note

Prepared by Monty Smedley, Head of Maritime Consultancy


Our maritime risk specialists regularly help ports develop and review Safety Management Systems for marine operations. We create and test procedures, and carry out gap-analysis of safety management systems against PMSC requirements.

This post was originally published on 12 September 2018 and has since been revised.