ISO 9001:2008 QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The Maritime Services Group of International Registries, Inc. (IRI) in Reston, London, New York, Ft. Laurderdale and Piraeus is registered by BSI Quality Registrars as having an ISO 9001:2008, certified quality management system under the American National Accreditation Society (ANAB) and the United Kingdom Accreditation Society (UKAS). This quality certification encompasses the management of the operational and administrative functions of maritime open ship registry programs.
ISO is a series of five international standards on quality management and assurances. ISO 9001:2008 is the quality standard used by companies whose products or services have already been marketed, tested, improved and approved. These companies focus their quality efforts on maintaining and improving existing quality systems. ISO defines a quality system as: "The organizational structure, responsibilities, procedures, processes and resources needed to implement quality management." In the case of the maritime administrator, this certification encompasses vessel registration and documentation, mortgage recordation, crew examination, officer licensing, seafarers' identification and qualification documents, radio station licensing, vessel safety inspections, technical support and investigations.
IRI MARITIME OPERATIONS IN RESTON, LONDON, NEW YORK, FT. LAUDERDALE, AND PIRAEUS ARE ISO 9001:2008 CERTIFIED
IRI was the First Maritime Administrator to obtain Quality ISO 9002 Management System Certification.
On March 16, 1995, IRI's Maritime Services Group, in Reston and New York, were certified and registered as having in place a quality system under ISO 9002-1994. As a Maritime Administrator since 1948, IRI's Maritime Services Group has developed an extensive vessel registration and maritime administration program. This experience enabled the Department to initiate and successfully complete the ISO 9002 Quality Management System process in a very short period of time. In 2003 the Maritime Services Group was ISO 9001:2000 certified to the new standard.
IRI is dedicated to maintaining this certification and to continually improving and providing high quality services to shipowners and operators around the world. IRI's Maritime Services Group in London also successfully went through this rigorous process in 1998 for ISO 9002 and again recently for ISO 9001:2000 certification. In 2008 IRI’s Maritime Services Group in Piraeus was ISO 9001:2000 certified.
QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND THE MARITIME INDUSTRY
Although quality management systems were originally developed for the manufacturing industry, there are a growing number of ship management and marine service companies which have or are in the process of obtaining quality management certification. International regulations are also under review which may require the certification of flag state administrations. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Flag State Implementation (FSI) Subcommittee has also addressed the ability of maritime administrations to provide quality management and implement the international maritime conventions and rules properly.
Quality certification of a maritime administration's management system can be of tremendous benefit in overcoming the negative connotations about open ship registries and verifying a flag State's ability to implement and administer international rules and regulations in today's evolving maritime regulatory climate. ISO 9001:2008 certification provides an opportunity for well-run ship registries and flag States to have their management operations and administrative functions documented by internationally recognized, unbiased third-party auditors, such as BSI Quality Registrar.
THE ISO 9001:2008 QUALITY SYSTEM AUDITORS
As a condition for maintaining ISO 9001:2008 certification, the following systems are audited annually by BSI and quarterly by IRI's own internal auditors:
- record keeping
- planning and control
- internal auditing and management systems review
QUALITY POLICY STATEMENT— COMPETENCE, RESPECTABILITY AND QUALITY SERVICE
The Maritime Services Group of IRI is committed to providing, under the Marshall Islands Maritime Program, the highest quality ship registry services and flag State administration found anywhere in the world. The premise of this commitment is our understanding of the need to balance timely and effective vessel registration and compliance under the provisions of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), international regulations, procedures and practices contained in International Maritime Organization (IMO) instruments and other mandatory instruments to which the Marshall Islands is a Party, with the professional knowledge of, and pragmatic appreciation for, the complexities of conducting international trade without unnecessary interference.
Shipowners and operators in today's international marine transportation industry require a ship registry that:
- Provides an established and efficient registration process that is compatible with the operation of their vessels;
- Provides a respected regulatory atmosphere regarding maritime safety, security and environmental protection;
- Is capable and willing to act responsively and decisively whenever or wherever necessary; and
- Consists only of quality vessels, owned and operated by quality owners and ship managers.
The safety and security of passengers and crews, their cargoes and their ships, along with the protection of the marine environment, shall never be knowingly compromised. At the same time, every employee within the Maritime Services Group shall be dedicated toward working with shipowners, operators, professional mariners, recognized organizations and appropriate flag, Port State and contracting government officials, our customers, in reaching equitable solutions to all encountered situations in a timely and appropriate manner.
In short, shipowners require competence, respectability and quality service. The time-honored respect and professional reputation earned around the world by our Maritime Services Group since inception over 60 years ago is proof of our abilities. However, we must remain alert for ways to improve upon the Marshall Islands maritime program and services as changes occur in the industry and regulatory arena.
It is our mission that the highly regarded professional support of the Maritime Services Group remains readily available for the benefit of our customers. When acceptable vessel operations are not interrupted or disturbed, all concerned will profit. We shall continue to strive toward holding true to this mission.
The Board of Managers has ensured its policy is carried out through the establishment of mission objectives set at relevant functions and levels in the MSG. These mission objectives are consistent with quality policy and measurable through defined service goals.
Our mission objectives are to:
- Meet and fulfill the obligations and responsibilities set forth in international regulations, procedures and practices contained in IMO instruments and other mandatory instruments to which the Republic of the Marshall Islands is a Party;
- Establish legislation and interpretive regulations to assure that ships in the registry know how to and do comply at all times with maritime safety, security and pollution-prevention standards laid down in relevant IMO instruments;
- Maintain facilities, resources and personnel commensurate with the service demands of the Registry;
- Provide prompt, professional, superior continuity in service by using personnel with appropriate technical expertise and background, qualified to guide, direct and manage the maritime program;
- Maintain an adequate and effective system of surveys, safety inspections and audits of the ships and shipowners in the Registry to ensure their compliance with relevant national rules and regulations and international conventions and protocols of SOLAS, MARPOL, ITC69, LL, COLREGS and ITU;
- Ensure compliance with the STCW Convention, 1978, as amended;
- Be prepared to respond to significant incidents, conduct and report on investigations into casualties, contraventions and the timely handling of cases of ships with deficiencies or special needs;
- Be alert for and amenable to changes and/or improvements to our procedures and the efficiency of our functions;
- Ensure the integrity of the MSG’s programs through regular, periodic internal audits;
- Maintain for every employee an atmosphere of pride in workmanship, a spirit of teamwork, mutual respect, trust and motivation to work effectively with shipowners, operators and contracting governments;
- Assure that the safety of our employees and associates, our customers’ sea-going personnel and their registered ships, passengers or cargo are NEVER knowingly compromised.
Reaching and maintaining these quality objectives is possible because this commitment to quality resides within each employee and associate.
Thomas F. Heinan
Senior Vice President, Maritime Administration