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About OOCL > Safety

Maximum Commitment to Safety

All OOCL owned vessels are Hong Kong-flagged, and recognized for their excellent safety standards under Qualship 21 since 2004. Qualship 21 holds the most rigid safety and anti-pollution standards in the world for non-US flagged vessels.

 Achievements calendar 

  • Nov 1993 – OOCL fleet management department and individual ships accredited by the Det Norske Veritas (DNV) with the Safety and Environment Protection (SEP) Management System Certificate, 10 years in advance of the establishment of the mandatory International Safety Management (ISM) Code in the industry. 
  • Sep 1999 – OOCL sets records for safety, environmental protection and quality by having all its vessels achieved Level 7 rating on the International Marine Safety Rating System (IMSRS).  OOCL was the world’s first carrier to achieve such high standards and also the only carrier who had all its vessels audited.
  • Jul 2002 – OOCL's Dangerous Goods System launches a powerful online training system, known as "DGSmart," which covers all parties involved in DG transportation process including carriers, forwarders, manufactures, port authorities, and DG/chemical experts.
  • Nov 2002 – OOCL became the first global container carrier to be successful in the completion of the Safety, Quality & Environmental Protection Management System certification by one of the leading international classification societies – The American Bureau of Shipping, for its ship management function.
  • 2003 - OOCL has been a member of the Clean Cargo Working Group since 2003, and our mission with the group is to foster continuous improvement of environmental and social performance aspects of freight transport by sharing information and promoting best practices in the industry.
  • Jul 2004 – OOCL vessels recognized by the US Coast Guard’s for its high safety and environmental standards with the Qualship 21 awards.
  • Jul 2006 – OOCL successfully enrolled into the Chemical Distribution Institute-Marine Packed Cargo (CDI-mpc) scheme. It recognizes the safety and quality standards of vessels against the risk assessment from chemical companies.
  • Sep 2006 – OOCL extended the Corporate Security Organization to SSE (Safety, Security and Environmental Protection). Corporate and Regional Emergency Response Team and Plans were also formally established.
  • Dec 2007 – Completed the first safety training to all global staff and kicked off an on-going training process.


At OOCL, safety training is essential to our operations both on shore and at sea.  Strict procedures on board and comprehensive manuals on "Standard Shipboard Operating Practices" have been launched with a major focus on safety.

In addition to IMO mandatory safety training (see details below), OOCL offers additional safety programs for sea staff, in line with one of OOCL’s core values, “People, People, People”.  One of the ongoing programs is the Onboard Mentoring Program, which helps to train newly recruited or promoted sea staff as well as cadets on safe, efficient performance.  The ship master, chief engineer, chief officer and 2nd Engineer “mentor” them closely for a specific period of time with continuous appraisal reports.

An Onboard Safety Culture is constantly promoted onboard, and all crew members keep updated on safety measures and initiatives through various training and re-education systems.  OOCL offers a web-based computer program which is regularly enhanced and is designed for individual self-study on board or ashore, with the purpose of upgrading safety awareness.  The course is accredited by recognized organizations, and an examination is given at the end of each module. Crew members are expected to apply the knowledge acquired within the context of their ship’s operation when the course completed.

We also send our officers and engineers for training around the world, including Simulator Training in Rotterdam and Keelung. For more than 10 years we have arranged a Bridge and Engine Resource Management Course for OOCL officers and engineers as training and re-education. This course is conducted at the Zhoushan Orient International Seaman Training Center in China, which has been sponsored by the Tung Group and OOCL since 1980. OOCL sea staff including ship masters, officers and engineers are sent for mandatory training and re-education courses every four years on a rotation basis.  

To promote safety and quality for future seafarers, OOCL also sends our experienced technical staff, ship masters and chief engineers to conduct presentations on topics such as safety, security, shipboard communication skills, and our in-house SQE System {Ship Safety/Security, Quality and Environment System} to students in the Zhejiang International Maritime College.

OOCL's safety record is excellent. We frequently carry out comprehensive risk assessments on carrying Reefer and Dangerous cargo. Dangerous goods, prior to loading, will be randomly inspected to ensure correct packing and proper storage. Strict onboard checking systems have been also implemented for sensitive cargo. A special drill for ship safety, including anti-pollution, is periodically practiced both onboard and in the office, to ensure safe ship operations at all times.

International and national safety standards and regulations on board and at sea

The following are some major international standards and regulations that are closely observed by OOCL crew members at all times:

SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is the most important treaty protecting the safety of merchant ships. The first version of the treaty was passed in 1914 in response to the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It prescribed numbers of lifeboats and other emergency equipment along with safety procedures, including continuous radio watches.

The current SOLAS Convention specifies safety onboard in every aspect, including: machinery and electrical installation; fire protection, detection and extinction; life saving appliances and arrangements; radio communications; safety of navigation; carriage of cargo; management for the safe operation of ships, and special measures to enhance maritime safety.

ISM Code - International Safety Management Code

The purpose of this Code is to provide an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention.

The code states that the owner and operator of the vessel should a) provide safe practices in ship operation and a safe working environment; b) establish safeguards against all identified risks; and c) continuously improve safety management skills of personnel ashore and aboard ships, including preparing for emergencies related both to safety and environmental protection.

Code of Practice on Shipboard Container Handling on Vessels

This code, issued under the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (SAPCO) by the Marine and Industrial Safety Section of Marine Department, HKSAR, provides practical guidance and gives recommendations on safety practices for container handling on board vessels.

The code states that it is the duty of any person, including person in charge of works and employer, to ensure that work is safe and is carried out in a safe manner. It also summarizes the duties of various parties directly involved in shipboard container handling operations, emergency procedures, first aid equipment, and guidance on the main elements of risk assessments.