(Adopted on 21 June 2013)
CODE FOR RECOGNIZED ORGANIZATIONS (RO CODE)
THE MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE,
RECALLING Article 28(b) of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization concerning the functions of the Committee,
RECALLING ALSO resolution A.739(18) entitled Guidelines for the authorization of organizations acting on behalf of the Administration, as amended by resolution MSC.208(81), and resolution A.789(19) entitled Specifications on the survey and certification functions of recognized organizations acting on behalf of the Administration, which have become mandatory under chapter XI-1 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974 (hereinafter referred to as "the 1974 SOLAS Convention"), under chapter I of annex I to annex B of the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (hereinafter referred to as "the 1988 Load Lines Protocol"), and under Annex I and Annex II of the MARPOL Convention,
RECOGNIZING the need to update the aforementioned resolutions, gather all the applicable requirements for recognized organizations in a single IMO mandatory instrument and assist in achieving harmonized and consistent global implementation of requirements established by IMO instruments for the assessment and authorization of recognized organizations,
RECOGNIZING ALSO the need for a code to provide, as far as national laws allow, a standard approach to assist the Administrations in meeting their responsibilities in recognizing, authorizing and monitoring their recognized organizations,
NOTING resolutions MSC.350(92) and MSC.356(92), by which it adopted, inter alia, amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol, respectively, to make the provisions of part 1 and part 2 of the Code for recognized organizations mandatory under the 1974 SOLAS Convention and the 1988 Load Lines Protocol,
NOTING ALSO resolution MEPC.237(65) by which the Marine Environment Protection Committee adopted the Code for recognized organizations to be made mandatory under annex I and annex II of the Protocol of 1978 relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973,
HAVING CONSIDERED, at its ninety-second session, the text of the proposed Code for recognized organizations,
CONSIDERING that it is highly desirable for the Code for recognized organizations made mandatory under the MARPOL Convention, the 1974 SOLAS Convention and the 1988 Load Lines Protocol to remain identical,
1. ADOPTS the Code for recognized organizations (RO Code), the text of which is set out in the annex to the present resolution;
2. INVITES Contracting Governments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and Parties to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol to note that the RO Code will take effect on 1 January 2015 upon the entry into force of the respective amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and 1988 Load Lines Protocol;
3. REQUESTS the Secretary-General to transmit certified copies of the present resolution and the text of the RO Code contained in the annex to all Contracting Governments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and Parties to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol;
4. ALSO REQUESTS the Secretary-General to transmit copies of this resolution and the annex to all Members of the Organization which are not Contracting Governments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention or Parties to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol;
5. RECOMMENDS Governments concerned to use the recommendatory provisions contained in part 3 of the RO Code as a basis for relevant standards, unless their national requirements provide at least an equivalent degree of safety.
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CODE FOR RECOGNIZED ORGANIZATIONS (RO CODE)
.1 provides flag States with a standard that will assist in achieving harmonized and consistent global implementation of requirements established by the instrument of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the assessment and authorization of recognized organizations (ROs);
.2 provides flag States with harmonized, transparent and independent mechanisms, which can assist in the consistent oversight of ROs in an efficient and effective manner; and
.3 clarifies the responsibilities of organizations authorized as ROs for a flag State and overall scope of authorization.
The Code serves as the international standard and consolidated instrument containing minimum criteria against which organizations are assessed towards recognition and authorization and the guidelines for the oversight by flag States.
2.1 The Code applies to:
.1 all organizations being considered for recognition or that are recognized by a flag State to perform, on its behalf, statutory certification and services under mandatory IMO instruments and national legislation; and
.2 all flag States that intend to recognize an organization to perform, on their behalf, statutory certification and services under mandatory IMO instruments.
2.2 The Code establishes:
.1 the mandatory requirements that an organization shall fulfil to be recognized by a flag State (part 1);
.2 the mandatory requirements that an RO shall fulfil when performing statutory certification and services on behalf of its authorizing flag States (part 2);
.3 the mandatory requirements that flag States shall adhere to when authorizing an RO (part 2); and
.4 guidelines for flag State oversight of ROs (part 3).
2.3 The Code defines the functional, organizational and control requirements that apply to ROs conducting statutory certification and services performed under mandatory IMO instruments, such as, but not limited to, SOLAS, MARPOL and the Load Lines Conventions.
2.4 All requirements of the Code are generic and applicable to all ROs, regardless of their type and size and the statutory certification and services provided.
2.5 ROs subject to this Code need not offer all types of statutory certification and services and may have a limited scope of recognition, provided that the requirements of this Code are applied in a manner that is compatible with the limited scope of recognition. Where any requirement of this Code cannot be applied due to the scope of services delivered by an RO, this shall be clearly identified by the flag State and recorded in the RO's quality management system.
The Code consists of three parts. Part 1 contains general provisions. Part 2 contains mandatory provisions for the flag State and RO as already contained in relevant IMO instruments and applicable international standards. Part 3 contains guidelines for the oversight of ROs by flag States.
4 DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
4.1 A flag State may delegate authority to an organization recognized as complying with the provisions of this Code to perform, on its behalf, statutory certification and services under mandatory IMO instruments and its national legislation.
4.2 The flag State shall not authorize functions beyond RO's capabilities. In this respect, the flag State shall take into consideration appendix 2 of this Code for authorization.
4.3 Flag States should cooperate with each other with the objective of ensuring that ROs to whom they delegate authority adhere to the provisions of this Code.
5 COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION
The flag State shall communicate to, and deposit with, the Secretary-General of IMO a list of ROs for circulation to the interested parties for information of their officers, and a notification of the specific responsibilities and conditions of the authority delegated to ROs.
The Code is based on the following referenced documents:
.1 mandatory IMO instruments and IMO Guidelines and recommendations (i.e. Codes, guidelines and standards recommended by the Organization);
.2 ISO 9000:2005, Quality Management Systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary;
.3 ISO 9001:2008, Quality Management Systems – Requirements;
.4 ISO/IEC 17020:1998, General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection;
.5 ISO 19011:2002, Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing;
.6 International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Quality Management System Requirements (QMSR); and
.7 national legislation.
RECOGNITION AND AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
1 TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
1.1 Recognized organization (RO) means an organization that has been assessed by a flag State, and found to comply with this part of the RO Code.
1.2 Authorization means the delegation of authority to an RO to perform statutory certification and services on behalf of a flag State as detailed in an agreement or equivalent legal arrangement taking into account the "Elements to be included in an Agreement" as set out in appendix 3 of this Code.
1.3 Statutory certification and services means certificates issued, and services provided, on the authority of laws, rules and regulations set down by the Government of a sovereign State. This includes plan review, survey, and/or audit leading to the issuance of, or in support of the issuance of, a certificate by or on behalf of a flag State as evidence of compliance with requirements contained in an international convention or national legislation. This includes certificates issued by an organization recognized by the flag State in accordance with the provisions of SOLAS regulation XI-1/1, and which may incorporate demonstrated compliance with the structural, mechanical and electrical requirements of the RO under the terms of its agreement of recognition with the flag State.
1.4 Assessment means any activity to determine that the assessed entity fulfils the requirements of the relevant rules and regulations.
1.5 Interested parties means any person or legal entity who can demonstrate a justified interest in the survey and certification process and includes, inter alia, clients of the RO, shipowners, ship operators, shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, shipping industry interests or associations, marine insurance interests or associations, trade associations, governmental regulatory bodies or other governmental services and non-governmental organizations.
1.6 Location is a place from which surveys are carried out and managed, or where plan approval is carried out, or from which processes are managed.
1.7 Site is the place at which a surveyor is based to cover a specific contract or a series of contracts including; but not limited to, a port, shipyard, firm, and company. All statutory certification and services at sites are to be controlled by a location.
1.8 A Vertical Contract Audit (VCA) is a contract/order specific audit of production processes, including witnessing work during attendance at a survey, audit or plan approval in progress and, as applicable, including relevant sub-processes. A VCA is carried out at a location or a site (Survey Station/Approval Office/Site) to verify the correct application of relevant requirements in service realization for the specific work in that contract/order, and their interactions (relevant sub-processes include e.g. previous part surveys or UTM processes connected to the survey). Plan approval VCA may be carried out for completed tasks.
2 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR RECOGNIZED ORGANIZATIONS
Delegation of authority by a flag State to an organization shall be subject to the confirmation of the capability of that organization to demonstrate that it has the capacity to deliver high standards of service and its compliance with the requirements of this Code and applicable national legislation.
2.2 Rules and regulations
The RO shall establish, publish and systematically maintain its rules or regulations, a version of which shall be provided in the English language, for the design, construction and certification of ships and their associated essential engineering systems as well as provide for adequate research capability to ensure appropriate updating of the published criteria.
The RO and its staff shall not engage in any activities that may conflict with their independence of judgement and integrity in relation to their statutory certification and services. The RO and its staff responsible for carrying out the statutory certification and services shall not be the designer, manufacturer, supplier, installer, purchaser, owner, user or maintainer of the item subject to the statutory certification and services, nor the authorized representative of any of these parties. The RO shall not be substantially dependent on a single commercial enterprise for its revenue.
2.4.1 The personnel of ROs shall be free from any pressures, which might affect their judgement in performing statutory certification and services. Procedures shall be implemented to prevent persons or organizations external to the organization from influencing the results of services carried out.
2.4.2 All potential customers shall have access to statutory certification and services provided by the RO without undue financial or other conditions. The procedures under which the RO operates shall be administered in a non-discriminatory manner.
The RO shall be governed by the principles of ethical behaviour, which shall be contained in a Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics shall recognize the inherent responsibility associated with a delegation of authority to include assurance of adequate performance of services.
The RO shall perform statutory certification and services by the use of competent surveyors and auditors who are duly qualified, trained and authorized to execute all duties and activities incumbent upon their employer, within their level of work responsibility.
The RO shall define and document the responsibilities, authorities, qualifications and interrelation of personnel whose work affects the quality of its services.
2.8.1 Transparency reflects the principle of access to, or disclosure of, all information related to the statutory certification and services carried out by the RO on behalf of a flag State.
2.8.2 The ROs shall communicate information to the flag State as described in the section on communication/cooperation with the flag State.
2.8.3 Information concerning the status of ships certified by ROs shall be made available to the public.
3 MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION
The RO shall, based on the provisions of this Code, develop and implement a quality management system and shall continually improve its effectiveness.
3.2 Quality, safety and pollution prevention policy
The RO shall define and document its policy and objectives for, and commitment to, quality, safety and pollution prevention. In particular, the RO's management shall:
.1 ensure that the policy and objectives are established;
.2 ensure the policy and objectives are appropriate for the purpose of the organization;
.3 communicate the policy and objectives; including provisions applicable to the statutory certification and services, to the organization and ensure that it is understood within the organization;
.4 ensure sufficient availability of resources;
.5 include a commitment to comply with all applicable requirements and continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system;
.6 conduct management reviews; which includes a framework for reviewing quality objectives; and
.7 review the quality policy, objectives and the quality management system for continuing suitability.
3.3 Documentation requirements
3.3.1 The quality management system shall include the following documentation:
.1 quality policy and quality objectives;
.2 quality manual (refer to section 3.4);
.3 procedures and records required by this Code and the national legislation of the recognizing flag State;
.4 procedures to ensure the effective planning, operation, and control of the RO's processes;
.5 rules and regulations as applicable to the RO's areas of authorization;
.6 list of ships for which statutory certification and services are provided;
.7 other documented process procedures that are considered necessary (these include any circulars or letters, which provide the surveyors and administrative staff with up-to-date information on classification, statutory and related matters);
.8 specifications and diagrams defining or amplifying service processes; and
.9 pro-forma reports, checklists and certificates appropriate to the activities covered by this certification.
3.3.2 The quality management system shall also include external documents, such as:
.1 national and international standards necessary for the activities governed by this instrument;
.2 IMO Conventions and resolutions;
.3 national shipping regulations and standards appropriate to the authorization of the RO;
.4 documents and data submitted to the RO for verification and/or approval; and
.5 specified correspondence defined by the RO to be of an important nature.
3.4 Quality manual
The RO shall establish and maintain a quality manual that includes:
.1 scope of the quality management system, including details of, and justification for any exclusions;
.2 management statement on its policy and objectives for, and commitment to, quality;
.3 description of the RO's areas of activity and competence;
.4 general information about the organization and its head office (name, address, phone number, etc., and legal status);
.5 information on the RO's relationship to its parent or associated organizations (where applicable);
.6 charts describing the organization's structure;
.7 management statement assigning a person designated who is responsible for the organization's quality management system;
.8 relevant job descriptions;
.9 policy statement on qualification and training of personnel;
.10 documented procedures established for the quality management system, or reference to them;
.11 description of the interaction between processes of the quality management system; and
.12 description of all other documents required by the quality management system.
3.5 Control of documents
3.5.1 Documents required by the quality management system shall be controlled. The provision of document control shall apply to any type of document, including but not limited to; electronic media and IT applications where said electronic media may affect the reliability of the service or of the recorded data.
3.5.2 A documented procedure shall be established to define the controls needed to:
.1 approve documents for adequacy prior to issue;
.2 review and update as necessary and re-approve documents;
.3 ensure that changes and the current revision status of documents are identified;
.4 ensure that relevant versions of applicable documents are available at points of use;
.5 ensure that documents remain legible and readily identifiable;
.6 ensure that documents of external origin determined by the RO to be necessary for the planning and operation of the quality management system are identified and their distribution is controlled; and
.7 prevent the unintended use of obsolete documents, and to apply suitable identification if they are retained for any purpose.
3.6 Control of records
3.6.1 Records shall be established to provide evidence of conformity to requirements of this Code and of the effective operation of the quality management system. The records shall be controlled.
3.6.2 The RO shall establish a documented procedure to define the controls needed for the identification, storage, protection, retrieval, retention, and disposition of records. Records shall remain legible, readily identifiable and retrievable.
3.6.3 The RO shall ensure that records are maintained, demonstrating achievement of the required standards in the terms covered by the statutory certification and services performed as well as the effective operation of the quality management system. Records, other than those set out in 18.104.22.168, shall be retained at least for the period for which statutory certification and services are provided by the RO. Records specified in 22.214.171.124 for a ship shall be retained for a minimum period of three years beyond the period for which statutory certification and services are provided by the RO to that ship, or a longer period if specified in the agreement between the flag State and the RO.
3.6.4 Records shall include at least those relevant to:
.1 rules and regulations development and associated research;
.2 the application of the rules and regulations and statutory requirements through:
.1 verification and/or approval of documents and/or drawings relevant to the design;
.2 approval and survey of materials and equipment;
.3 survey during construction and installation;
.4 survey during service; and
.5 issuance of certificates;
.3 the list of ships; and
.4 all other records required by this quality management system and any additional requirements established by the recognizing flag State.
3.7.1 The RO shall ensure that quality objectives, including those needed to meet the requirements for statutory certification and services are established at relevant functions and levels within the organization.
3.7.2 The quality objectives shall be measurable and consistent with the quality policy.
3.7.3 The RO shall in its planning consider the elements identified below, and use the result to evaluate the effectiveness of its standards and procedures and their impact on safety of life and property and the marine environment:
.1 that the planning of the quality management system is carried out in order to meet the requirements of the mandatory IMO Instruments, including but not limited to this Code, its quality management system and the authorizing flag State's national legislation;
.2 that the integrity of the quality management system is maintained when changes to the quality management system are planned and implemented;
.3 that the needs and expectations of the customers and other interested parties are taken into account, e.g. feedback from IMO, flag States and industry associations;
.4 the effectiveness of services based on statistics from port State control, casualties, loss trends and feedback obtained from internal and external users;
.5 the performance of the quality management system processes based on feedback from internal audits, non-conformities and internal comments;
.6 lessons learned from previous experience and deriving from an examination of survey reports, casualty investigations or external sources; and
.7 other sources of information which identifies opportunities for improvement.
3.7.4 The RO shall identify and plan the processes required for the quality management system, and determine the sequence and interaction of these processes.
3.7.5 The RO shall determine the requirements to be complied with and the criteria to ensure both the operation and control of these processes, including the criteria for acceptance, and evaluate the resources needed.
3.7.6 The RO shall plan and develop the processes required for statutory certification and services. Planning of the delivery of statutory certification and services shall be consistent with the requirements of other processes of the quality management system.
3.7.7 In planning the delivery of statutory certification and services, the RO shall determine the following as appropriate:
.1 quality objectives and requirements for statutory certification and services;
.2 the need to establish processes and documents, and to provide resources specific to the activity;
.3 required verification, validation, monitoring, measurement, inspection and test activities and the criteria for acceptance; and
.4 records needed to provide evidence that statutory certification and services meet the quality management system requirements; the requirements set out in the Code and the national legislation of the recognizing flag State.
3.7.8 The output of this planning shall be in a form suitable for the RO's structure and method of operations. The output of the planning should consider:
.1 responsibility and authority for developing improvement plans;
.2 skills and knowledge needed;
.3 improvement approaches, methodology and tools;
.4 resource requirements;
.5 alternative planning needs;
.6 indicators for performance achievements; and
.7 the need for documentation and records.
3.8.1 The relative size, structure, experience, and capability of the RO shall be commensurate with the type and degree of the statutory certification and services authorized by the flag State.
3.8.2 The RO shall demonstrate that it has the technical, administrative, and managerial competence and capacity to ensure the provision of quality services in a timely manner.
3.8.3 The RO shall appoint a member of its management who, irrespective of other responsibilities, shall have responsibility and authority that includes:
.1 ensuring that processes needed for the quality management system are established, implemented, and maintained;
.2 ensuring that processes required for the effective delivery of statutory certification and services are established, implemented and maintained;
.3 reporting to top management on the performance of the quality management system; the delivery of statutory certification and services and any need for improvement; and
.4 ensuring the promotion of awareness of all requirements throughout the RO.
3.8.4 The RO shall ensure that the responsibilities and authorities are defined and communicated within the RO.
3.9.1 Internal communication
The RO shall ensure that appropriate communication processes are established within the RO and that communication takes place regarding the effectiveness of the quality management system and statutory certification and services provided.
3.9.2 Communication/cooperation with flag State
126.96.36.199 The RO shall establish appropriate communication processes with the authorizing flag State that, inter alia, address the following:
.1 information specified by the flag State in terms of authorization;
.2 classification of ships (assignments of class, changes and withdrawals), as applicable;