Internal audit is an important part of the effectiveness of a Company’s Safety Management System, but even today it has been misunderstood both by Ship and Office Personnel. Internal audits provide a number of important services to Company management. These include detecting and preventing deficiencies which can result to an incident or an accident, testing internal control, and monitoring compliance with Company’s policy and safety procedures.

Establishing an internal audit function provides a vital step in the growth of the Company and it’s Fleet. With the expanded and extended role of internal audit now stretching beyond its traditional focus on compliance on the ISM code, to encompass an assessment of the Company’s SMS efficiency and effectiveness in achievement of its objectives, internal audit has become a management tool.

Overall best practices in internal control and internal audit will generate key benefits. The overall design of the internal audit system, including best practices, should be geared towards the specific priorities of the Company taking into account own circumstances and requirements to sole purpose of preventing incidents / accidents.

The audit function is not an examination, is not something personal between departments, Masters or Superintendents, should be ALWAYS seen as being part of the management function both on-board and ashore, and increasingly as a way for improving the performance both the Office and the Ship.

These words should be told to all personnel involved in shipping to prevent incidents / accidents and save human life and the environment.