Towards the end of the 1980s, ship management was emerging as an important industry in its own right, but there was a lack of any real forum for ship managers as an homogeneous group. The idea of forming an association of ship managers was first floated at that time, partly to serve this need but also in response to what was perceived as unfair criticism of a growing industry sector.
Ship managers had been made scapegoats for a perceived deterioration in shipping standards over the preceding two decades. The argument ran that, with the replacement of the traditional shipowner structures by new types of owner such as K/S investors, third party managers had become the instrument of cost-cutting and shoddy operations.
In fact there have always been responsible ship managers and they were among the first to recognise the pressure on standards. The ship management sector reacted with more
determination than any other within the shipping industry and embarked on a quality assurance system by which negative trends could be acted upon. The result of this initiative was the creation of the International Ship Managers’ Association (ISMA) in the spring of 1991. Today, InterManager represents ship managers worldwide controlling a fleet of over 4,000 ships.
To spread the quality ideal, in 1994 membership was extended to crew managers, and more recently a class of Associate Membership created for those companies and organisations sharing the same principles.
Today members must have establish, implement and maintain a quality management system in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2000 for all activities undertaken by the organisation.
Information about InterManager activities
Members receive regular circulars on a range of issues related to the interests of the organisation and of the ship management industry. In addition, weekly Dispatches e-newsletter, summarising recent developments is produced every Tuesday for distribution to members and other interested parties in addition to the press.
The work of the Association is performed by members through their participation in the activities of the various committees:
- Criminalisation of the Seafarers
- Key Performance Indicators
- EU/ IMO
- and the Executive Committee.
Co-operation with other bodies
InterManager sought and obtained consultative status with IMO at its 19th Assembly in November 1995. This is particularly important in view of the fact that IMO introduced its International Safety Management (ISM) Code, initially expressed in resolution A.741(18) and now incorporated into the SOLAS Convention.
ISMA representatives attend those committees at which their knowledge may be of value or when the outcome might affect the operation of ship or crew managers.
Intertanko and Intercargo, as industry bodies, play a vital role. Both enjoy considerable influence and are listened to. Since InterManager members have clients who are members of one or both organisations, it is in the interests of both the managers and the shipowners of wet and dry bulk tonnage to co-operate to the greatest possible extent.
InterManager has also participated in the BIMCO subcommittee reviewing
the Shipman and Crewman contracts, it being considered vital that the practical experience of shipmanagers was taken into account.
InterManager has participated in the European Quality Shipping Campaign, launched by the European Commission and the UK Government in November 1997. ISMA is now a routine data provider to Equasis and participant on the Editorial Board. Equasis is consulted daily by shipowners, cargo owners, insurers, brokers, classification societies, agents, ports and terminals.
External activities undertaken by members on behalf of the Association
Since its inception InterManager has been asked to provide spokesmen for the ship management industry at many conferences and seminars. Where possible such requests are accepted and the President, Vice President or other members of the Executive Committee have presented InterManager’s views on the pursuit of quality and the role of the ship management sector at venues across the world.
InterManager’s members have also taken advantage of company promotional events, such as stands at shipping exhibitions, to emphasise the aims and objectives of InterManager, and have addressed administrations, educational establishments and others on issues central to the purposes of InterManager and the principles for which it stands.
InterManager Members’ external responsibilities
The directors and senior staff of InterManager member companies hold a number of external positions. Posts include advisers to governments, technical institutes, maritime academies and maritime courts on maritime affairs, as well as senior elected positions in environmental and business promotion organisations, representation on ICS, ISF, Intertanko, BIMCO and national shipowners’ association boards or committees and official positions in local branches of The Nautical Institute.