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Pre-Certificate of
Compliance Inspection Audits

IMC provides Pre-Certificate of Compliance inspection audits to assist vessel owners/operators in identifying and correcting problems before they occur.

Ocean going vessels of 500 gross tons or more trading in US waters are required to hold a valid Document of Compliance Certificate (DOC) and Safety Management Certificate (SMC) specific to the type of vessel. These certificates are issued by the Flag State and are valid for 60 months. Vessels are issued DOC and SMC certificates after successful completion of audits on the Safety Management System in order to ensure that the vessel is being operated to ISM standards.

Prior to a foreign flag vessel’s arrival into US waters, as part of their Advance Notice of Arrival (ANOA), vessels are required to provide the United States Coast Guard (USCG) with the date of issuance of their DOC/SMS certificates and the name of the Flag State which issued them. The USCG will conduct routine Port State Control (PSC) examinations aboard vessels in order to verify compliance with the SMS system in place, and identify any major ISM non-conformities.

The USCG defines a Safety Management Audit as follows:

“Safety management audit means a systematic and independent examination to determine whether the safety management system activities and related results comply with planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve objectives.”

The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 04-05 provides guidance to all parties concerned, including Port State Control Officers and vessel owners, on USCG “enforcement of management for the safe operation of ships” (ISM Code).

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