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ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System
IRI’s Maritime Services Group (MSG) is registered by BSI Assurance UK Limited as having an ISO 9001:2015 certified quality management system under the American National Accreditation Board (ANAB), and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). This quality certification encompasses the management of the operational and administrative functions of maritime registry programs.
ISO 9001:2015 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 management system as: “The set of interrelated or interacting elements of an organization to establish policies and objectives and processes to achieve those objectives and quality as the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics of an objective fulfills requirements.” This encompasses the organizational structure, responsibilities, procedures, processes, and resources needed to implement a sustainable quality management system. In the case of the RMI Maritime Administrator (the “Administrator”), this certification encompasses the following registered activities: vessel registration and documentation, mortgage and financing charter recordation, radio licensing, regulatory affairs, regulatory administration, seafarer’s documentation, ship security, quality assurance, marine safety investigations, technical and Recognized Organization (RO) and Recognized Security Organization (RSO) oversight, vessel and technical support, vessel inspections, regulatory support, yacht safety and technical support, yacht inspections, offshore unit safety and technical support, and offshore unit inspections.
IRI Maritime Operations are ISO 9001:2015 Certified
The Administrator was the first maritime administrator to obtain Quality ISO 9002 Management System Certification.
On 16 March 1995, IRI’s MSG in Reston and New York were certified and registered as having in place a quality management system under ISO 9002-1994. As a maritime administrator since 1948, IRI’s MSG has developed an extensive vessel registration and maritime administration program and continues to provide quality-based technical and administrative services to our worldwide clients. This experience enabled IRI to initiate and successfully complete the ISO 9002 Quality Management System process in a very short period of time. In 2003, the MSG was certified to the new ISO 9001:2003 standard.
IRI is dedicated to maintaining this certification and to continually improving and providing high quality services to vessel owners and operators around the world. IRI’s MSG in London also successfully went through this rigorous process in 1998 for ISO 9002 and again for ISO 9001:2000 certification. In 2008, IRI’s MSG in Piraeus was ISO 9001:2000 certified. In 2016, IRI expanded its list of approved locations to a total of 21 offices, which carry out the activities detailed above. In 2017, IRI completed an extensive transition process and was certified to ISO 9001:2015.
Quality Management and the Maritime Industry
Although quality management systems were originally developed for the manufacturing industry, there is a growing number of ship management and marine services companies which have or are in the process of obtaining quality management certification. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Flag State Implementation (FSI) Sub-Committee has also addressed the ability of maritime administrations to provide quality management and implement the international maritime conventions and rules properly.
Certification of a maritime administration’s quality management system can be a 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 9001:2015 certification provides an opportunity for well-run maritime administrations to have their management operations and administrative functions documented by internationally recognized, unbiased third-party auditors, such as BSI Assurance UK Limited.
The ISO 9001:2015 Quality System Auditors
As a condition for maintaining ISO 9001:2015 certification, the following systems are audited annually by BSI, as well as by IRI’s own internal auditors:
- documentation and record keeping
- internal and external support services
- operational planning and control
- development of products and services
- performance monitoring
- internal auditing and management systems review
- continual improvement
Quality Policy Statement – Competence, Respectability, and Quality Service
IRI and its affiliates provide administrative and technical support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) maritime registry. IRI’s MSG is committed to providing the highest quality ship registry and flag State administration services found anywhere in the world and will strive for continual improvement. The premise of this commitment is the need to balance timely and effective vessel registration and compliance by ships flying the flag of the RMI with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other mandatory instruments to which the RMI is a party. This is achieved by utilizing the professional knowledge of expert staff with a pragmatic appreciation for the complexities of conducting international trade without unnecessary interference.
Shipowners, operators, and other interested parties require a ship registry that:
- Provides an established and efficient registration process that is compatible with their operational needs;
- Provides a respected regulatory regime regarding maritime safety, security, seafarer welfare, and environmental protection;
- Is responsive and decisive 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, crews, cargoes, and ships, together with the protection of the marine environment, shall never be knowingly compromised. At the same time, every employee within the MSG shall be dedicated to working effectively with shipowners, operators, professional mariners, ROs, appropriate flag, port State, and government officials, and other interested parties in reaching equitable solutions to all situations in a timely and appropriate manner.
In short, shipowners, operators, and other interested parties expect competence, respectability, and quality services. The respect and professional reputation earned around the world by our MSG since its inception 70 years ago is proof of our commitment to this quality policy. However, we must remain alert for ways to improve the RMI maritime program as changes occur in the industry and in the regulatory environment.
It is our mission that the professional support of the MSG remains readily available for the benefit of shipowners, operators, and interested parties. When acceptable vessel operations are not interrupted or disturbed, all concerned will profit. We shall continue to strive toward holding true to this mission.
William R. Gallagher
9 April 2018
The Board of Managers has ensured that the Administrator’s Strategic Plan is effectively implemented through the establishment of quality objectives for each of the relevant functions and levels in the Maritime Services Group (MSG). These quality objectives are measurable through defined goals and are as follows:
- Meet and fulfill the obligations and responsibilities set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organization Conventions and other international instruments to which the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a Party and RMI laws and regulations;
- Actively participate in proceedings at all relevant IMO Committees and Subcommittees as appropriate;
- Routinely review IMO resolutions, circulars, and circular letters for recommendations and compliance issues and establish legislation and regulations to assure that ships in the Registry are governed by maritime safety, security, and pollution-prevention standards laid down in relevant IMO instruments;
- 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 laws and regulations and international conventions and protocols;
- Investigate, in conjunction with vessel owners and operators, and report on marine casualties, pollution incidents, security incidents, and other contraventions in accordance with international Conventions and Codes;
- Ensure the integrity of the MSGs maritime programs through regular, periodic internal audits and conformance with the ISO 9001:2015 Standard in accordance with the annual audit plan; and
- 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, contracting governments, and other industry stakeholders.
Reaching and maintaining these quality objectives is possible because this commitment to quality resides within each employee and associate.
Chief Operating Officer
20 December 2019