MOSS – What operators need to know

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 44, August 2013

MOSS (Maritime Operator Safety System) is the proposed new system to improve safety in maritime transport operations. It builds on what has been learned from SSM (Safe Ship Management). Under the proposed rule, you will need to comply with the new MOSS rules from 1 July 2014.

The SSM rules introduced a concept of a system for the safe operation of a ship. MOSS will take a wider view, making it clear that your entire operation needs to be examined to ensure any safety risks are identified and managed.

As an operator, you know your own operation – the risks, hazards, and possible solutions – better than anyone. You are responsible for making sure that you are managing those risks to prevent harm. Currently, commercial ship owners are required to be a member of an SSM company, and are issued an SSM certificate (current for up to four years) for each ship.

Under MOSS, commercial operators will not have to be a member of an SSM company. Instead, MNZ will provide guidance to operators so they can develop their own safety system covering all the vessels in their operation.

There are also changes for surveyors, including survey performance requirements being raised and clarified. MNZ will be assessing the competency of surveyors who wish to work in the MOSS system, as well as setting standards by which surveys will be performed. Surveyors will no longer have to be employed by SSM companies.

What are the proposed changes to the rules?

The MOSS framework has required changes to the maritime rules. MOSS involves replacing parts of Maritime Rule Part 46 (which guides surveys, certification and maintenance) with Maritime Rule Part 44; and section 2 of Maritime Rule Part 21 (which guides the certification of maritime transport operators) with Maritime Rule Part 19.

Changes will be made to other maritime rules (specifically those in the 40 series) to make sure they are consistent with the new rules. The new rules that create the MOSS framework will tell you what is expected of you, and will require you to develop a safety system that is tailored to your operation.

Which operations are covered by MOSS?

MOSS is designed to cover most commercial operations in New Zealand waters, including those using barges carrying passengers, fishing ships, RHIBs, large vessels, foreign charter fishing vessels and non-SOLAS foreign-flagged vessels. If your operation is not covered by ISM, or an SOP, safety case or Barge Safety Certificate, it will be covered by MOSS.

What is meant by an ‘operator’?

Legally, the ‘operator’ will be the person who has overall responsibility for a maritime transport operation. For much of New Zealand’s domestic commercial fleet, this is likely to be the person behind the wheel of the vessel.

In larger operations, this is likely to be the company or organisation – but the person behind the wheel will always have a key role in making sure safety systems are put into practice.

Who needs to be a Fit and Proper Person?

Under Part 5 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994, individuals who exercise control over the operation are required to be Fit and Proper Persons. These may be skippers, owners, or those in charge of crewing requirements. Again, this is all about what is relevant to your particular operation.

What will you need to provide for MOSS?

To get into MOSS you will need to develop a safety system for your entire operation, document it in your Maritime Transport Operator Plan (or MTOP), ensure you have all required ship certificates and documents, and then apply for a Maritime Transport Operator Certificate (or MTOC). If your SSM manual is already tailored to your operation, you shouldn’t have any problems converting it into a good MTOP.

Moving from SSM to MOSS

On day one of MOSS, if you have a valid SSM certificate, it is proposed that your operation will automatically be in MOSS. You won’t have to do anything new at that stage - as long as you continue to be a Fit and Proper Person, follow your SSM manual and keep your vessel safe.

This includes continuing to comply with Part 21 (other than the requirement to belong to an SSM company). Your SSM certificate will become a deemed MTOC until it expires, and the procedures and vessel, staff, and company details already in your SSM manual will be considered to be your MTOP.

These documents will remain valid until the expiry date on your SSM certificate (or if you have more than one vessel in your operation, the date your earliest SSM certificate expires) – and that’s when you must complete the transition into MOSS.

When to start your entry into MOSS

You and your employees should begin developing your MTOP well before applying for your MTOC. Under the new proposed system, you should aim to have your documents completed and submitted to MNZ three months before the expiry date on your SSM certificate. MNZ will accept applications from 1 April 2014.

If your operation has more than one vessel, you must complete the transition into MOSS on the day your first SSM certificate expires. You may choose to obtain an MTOC for each part of your operation (for example, different regions), or you may have one MTOC for the entire operation.

In exceptional circumstances, the Director of MNZ may agree to extend the expiry date for a deemed MTOC by up to 12 months.

Your ship’s certification issued by an SSM surveyor (commonly called a ‘fit for purpose’ certificate) will be treated as a Certificate of Survey under MOSS until the day it expires, or the day its out-of-water inspection is due, whichever comes first after 1 July 2014.

On 1 July 2014, under the proposed new system, SSM companies will cease to have a statutory role under the maritime rules; however you may choose to maintain a commercial relationship with your SSM company – for example, if they decide to become a survey company.

How much will it cost to apply?

Being issued with an MTOC will require a one-off fee that is yet to be determined. A process of consultation on proposed fees will commence before the end of 2013. It is expected that the fee will vary depending on the size of your operation, and will include an MNZ site visit and application processing costs. Your MTOC is valid for up to 10 years.

You must

Develop your operation’s safety system

Your safety system under MOSS will relate directly to your operation and people.You’re well on the way to having an effective safety system if you have:

  • identified all possible hazards, safety risks and emergencies, and all relevant maritime and marine protection rules
  • „„ensured your procedures and emergency responses related to your operation are appropriate, and are easy to understand and communicate
  • „„ensured all relevant staff know, understand and can follow the procedures.

Ask yourself:

  • „Do my procedures and emergency responses relate to my operation?
  • Will they be effective?
  • Are they easy to understand and communicate?
  • Do all relevant staff know and understand them?
  • Can they follow the procedures?

Document your safety system in your MTOP (Maritime Transport Operator Plan)

Your safety system must be documented in your MTOP, which must cover your entire operation under MOSS. The MTOP will also include information about:

  • the key people in your operation
  • vessel details (including survey certificates and reports)
  • survey and maintenance plans
  • safety equipment and spare parts lists.

Apply for an MTOC (Maritime Transport Operator Certificate)

Under MOSS you must have an MTOC if you want to run a commercial maritime transport operation. You will be issued with an MTOC when your MTOP has been accepted by MNZ.

Your MTOC is valid for up to 10 years, as long as you continue to comply with the conditions on your certificate; your vessel(s) has a valid survey certificate and an approved MTOP; and all those on the MTOP remain Fit and Proper Persons.

How to apply for MOSS

  • Identify the activities your operation will be involved in
  • Make sure your vessel(s) is safe for its intended use
    • Ensure vessel Certificate of Survey is current
    • Get all necessary safety certificates
  • Tailor your safety system for your operation (MTOP)
    • Document your safety system
  • Apply for your MTOC
    • Submit your MTOC application form, MTOP, Fit and Proper Person form(s), and application fee to MNZ
    • Supply any further information requested by MNZ
  • Site visit from MNZ
    • Be available for a site visit to your vessel(s) and/or operation as part of the application process
    • You may be required to submit a revised MTOP to address any concerns
  • Receive your MTOC and start operating
    • MNZ will give you guidance and help to develop and maintain your safety system, via workshops, information on the MNZ website, advice from our Maritime Officers, and templates and checklists
    • MNZ will confirm that your vessel is certified, your safety system meets requirements, and that those who control the requirements are Fit and Proper Persons
    • MNZ will verify that your safety system is implemented and continues to meet requirements (via subsequent audits).
Learn more about MOSS

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