Shipping companies will not maintain the International Safety Management (ISM) Code unless all parties involved in maritime safety and protection participate in the improvement process, a shipping official says. International Association of Classification Societies Council chairman Tor-Christian Mathiesen said the companies could not achieve much if the industry remained firmly entrenched in values and beliefs of the inspection culture. 'Our traditions represent a major threat here, because if we approach the ISM Code with the attitude of the inspection culture, the result will be negative indeed,' he told Hong Kong Shipowners Association members. Ship management codes would degenerate to just another certificate and inspections merely would be extended to include management, he said. There should be thorough, frequent and intensive inspections to make the process work. 'Realistic, attainable rewards must be made visible today - also by those responsible for regulation and enforcement,' he said. Management with high standards should be rewarded by reduced inspections, resulting in a friendlier and less punitive regime. Mr Mathiesen said the ISM Code would make it more difficult for ship operators to cut corners and provide a more even playing field for the benefit of responsible operators - the majority of shipping companies. The biggest rewards would be the savings in operational costs, improved performance and better relations with customers that went along with responsible management. Mr Mathiesen said he was confident the ISM Code would realise its objective and contribute to the development of a safety culture within the industry beyond 2000. He said IACS members had certified 5,000 vessels worldwide and another 8,000 ships were in the process of obtaining the IACS certification. However, because some flag states and authorised bodies also were doing the ISM certification, the number of vessels with certificates would be higher. Mr Mathiesen said flag states which carry out port state control should have common criteria for targeting and detaining ships for non-compliance, and not punish the industry as a whole. At the end of this month, a conference of ministers of member nations of the Toyko and Paris memorandums of understanding (MoUs) will meet in Vancouver to discuss port state control - among other issues. The Tokyo MoU was concluded in December 1983 by 18 regional maritime authorities. Mr Mathiesen said he hoped the meeting would arrive at common targeting procedures and publish information about ship detentions to enable others to learn from the cases. 'The solution is to differentiate between the performance of different actors,' he said. Hong Kong Shipowners Association director Arthur Bowring said the concern of shipowners was that some vessels would obtain certificates through backdoor means, without having complied with the process of obtaining the certificate. He hoped port state control would look closely at the processes to ensure everyone complied with requirements.