To ensure successful implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) code a change in attitude is needed, Aswin Astre, managing director of Wallem Shipmanagement, says. He said: 'To change the attitude requires convincing persons concerned. A certificate will not achieve this and make the operation of vessel safer.' Speaking at a recent seminar, Mr Astre said: 'Some legal issues might crop up for instance as the code is a guideline.' Courts could adopt the code and owners could be found liable for not being seaworthy due to failure to exercise due diligence, he said. Mr Astre warned that the code could also render an owner who could not conform by the stipulated date to unlimited liability under the 1976 limitation and that it could also give rise to cases where the insurer might claim he was in breach of policy and so on. 'A recent article in Fairplay states these fears are unfounded. But only time will tell,' he said. Mr Astre said the shipping industry had allowed itself to be dictated by administrations who in turn reacted after disasters struck. 'ISM, I hope, will put an end once and for all to this phenomenon,' he added. Commenting on the ISM code, which is divided into 13 sections, Mr Astre said section five required the company to make it clear that the Master was the ultimate authority as far as safety and pollution prevention was concerned. He said: 'It is all very fine to say someone has the authority, but I feel unless the company spends time and money to overcome 'we' and 'they' syndrome, that is, to make the Masters feel they are part of the team, for that matters all the ship staff, it will be difficult to achieve the requirement of this section.' Regarding section six which required the company to allocate resources and personnel on board and ashore, and to ensure all personnel were aware of their duties and get trained for their jobs, Mr Astre said a company should not take for granted that a person would be able to carry out his functions in whatever rank if he was in possession of certificate of competence. 'One has to ensure the person has the right attitude and experience to carry out the function.' Mr Astre said section nine, which required report and analysis of non-conformities accidents and hazardous occurrences, was a sensible requirement, but needed repeated counselling if this section was to be taken seriously. Regarding Section 11 on documentation, he said, it was alright to have controlled documents as long as one did not go overboard with them. Mr Astre said the industry's reputation would be tarnished further if the public realised that it had embarked on a task which was impossible to accomplish by the date stipulated. ISM code is mandatory in the industry by June 1998. 'The recent statement by International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) that dispensation will be granted for those who cannot comply by 1998, vindicates my statement,' he said.