Environmental accidents in the maritime industry get quick media attention. ISO 14001 does not guarantee that maritime accidents will not happen. It does, however, get organizations to consider their operations from a life cycle perspective of minimizing the impact of their operations on the environment.
The maritime industry has for a while now been governed by the requirements of MARPOL. MARPOL has 6 annexes and as of date all six annexes are in force. The six annexes cover the requirements for prevention of pollution of the marine environment by oil, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances in packaged form, sewage, garbage and air. However, MARPOL does not address the lifecycle operations of the shipping business. From an ISO 14001 perspective this would need to encompass the need for recycling of ships once they are done with their life.
The French Aircraft carrier Clemenceau is a good example of a vessel that faced major issues with being scrapped. Having sailed all the way to Alang, India it was denied entry and had to transit back to French Waters. It was denied access to Alang owing the Asbestos used on the vessel and the potential harm it would have on the scrap workers at Alang. MARPOL also does not address the operations as managed from operations ashore and the environmental impact of the operations of supporting the ships.
ISO 14001 encompasses the entire operations of the company if within scope and encourages organizations to look at all their operations from a lifecycle perspective. This essentially means that when designing office spaces and building ships companies need to start thinking about how they will dispose of waste from the processes in a responsible manner to the environment. Environmental sustainability is a new buzzword and demonstrating commitment to the environment, to stakeholders, through implementation of an internationally recognized standard ISO 14001.
ISO 14001 need not run independent of the existing management system that most maritime companies have conforming to the ISM Code. The requirements of ISO 14001 as with the MARPOL requirements get incorporated into the one management system on which the company operates. ISO 14001 as with other ISO standards is a voluntary standard. As such companies must choose to implement an environmental management system conforming to ISO 14001. Many leading maritime companies have already done so. QMII’s ISO 14001 training is delivered in multiple formats such as executive overviews, internal auditor and lead auditor. The training is also provided in an instructor-led online format and QMII’s instructors, having a maritime background, bring a unique skill set to the class in connecting the requirements of the standard through real life experiences.