At Bob Couttie's Maritime Accident Case Book Mr. Couttie has two closely related articles . The first is Piper Alpha 20 years on. (gcaptain coverage of Piper Alpha here.)
The article focuses on limitations of safety management systems. According to the article:
Occidental President, Glenn Shurtz, under cross examination during the Cullen Inquiry – “I had no reason to doubt that all was well. No one ever told me otherwise.”The president should know if things out on the water are going well or not, obviously. One of the most important way to know is via the designated Person or DP, which is the subject of the second article. Command 2008 - The 14th International Command Seminar Series: According to the article:
In the eyes of many experts, Safety Management Systems have actually stagnated because many DP’s have not received relevant training in management systems and safety management in particular. Often, it seems, the DP is unaware that he or she is lacking knowledge, until deficiencies come to light following a major incident when an external consultant of lawyer puts the Company SMS under the microscope”
This former master at Inform ISM is harsher:
Often the individual DPA has received little or no training in the job, they are often the original architect of a SMS which is basically incapable of ever working efficiently and they are more interested in making sure that all the bits of paper have been produced rather than ensuring that the management of safety is being improved
According to the ISM code the Designated Persons job is:
To ensure the safe operation of each ship and to provide a link between the Company and those on board, every Company, as appropriate, should designate a person or persons ashore having direct access to the highest level of management.The full ISM code - text is here. I would consider this required reading, its short and every master should be well acquainted with it. - This is the top tier of ISM.