The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced on October 25th that starting from November 28, 2019, passenger ships with a gross tonnage of more than 100 tons or capacity for more than 150 passengers, as well as cargo ships with a gross tonnage of more than 500 tons, must establish a “National Vessel Safety Management (NSM) System” and obtain an evaluation qualification certificate. Vessels that fail to meet requirements may not leave port. Violators may be subject to a fine between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000.
The MPB stated that it has referenced the International Safety Management Code (ISM Code) and amended regulations in Article 30-1 of the Law of Ships to promote the “Vessel Safety Operations and Prevention of Pollution National Safety Management (NSM) System”. The NSM System requires ship operators to establish standard operating procedures to achieve standardized, institutionalized, and documented management, and use regular internal reviews and audits to effectively manage all types of safety risks on vessels. The MPB emphasized that ship operators must designate dedicated personnel to take charge of the supervision of ship affairs. They must also coordinate and communicate with senior management to ensure that ships have access to adequate financial, property, and manpower resources from shore.
MPB Director-General Tien-Kuei Kuo stated that the biggest cause of marine casualty in the past has been “human error”. The international community has gradually expanded the enhancement of vessel safety management from technical issues, such as the structure and equipment of vessels, to the management of crew, shipowners, and ship operators. The implementation of the NSM system can increase ship operators’ awareness towards safety management, and improve Taiwan’s competitiveness in the shipping market.
The MPB actively began to assist domestic vessels in obtaining evaluation qualification certificates two years ago through the NSM Assistance Plan. It has earned approval and positive responses from multiple ship operators. As of today, a total of 41 ship operators and 38 ships have obtained the evaluation qualification certificates. The MPB stated that after the promulgation of the law, vessels that fail to meet the regulations may not leave port. Violators may be subject to a fine between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000. More than 80% of the ship operators have filed applications for evaluation. The MPB encourages those that have not filed applications to do so as quickly as possible, in order to ensure the navigational safety of domestic vessels.
Contact Person: Section Chief Yu-Hsin Huang, Vessel Management Division
Contact Number: 02-89782625 0933-843-435