A Risk Assessment Process to Measure your Best Practices

The flooding and subsequent capsize of the roll on/roll off passenger ferry Herald of Free Enterprise, on 6 March 1987, resulted in the loss of 193 lives. The formal investigation report revealed that “Clear instructions are the foundation of a safe system of operation”. The court stresses the need for:

  • Clear and concise orders.
  • Strict discipline.
  • Attention at all times to all matters affecting the safety of the ship and those on board. There must be no “cutting of corners”.
  • The maintenance of proper channels of communication between ship and shore for the receipt and dissemination of information.
  • A clear and firm management and command structure.


In Lemur Maritime, we have developed a tool to benchmark your best practices.

TMSA Element 1A Stages 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 are relevant.

Best Practice A Excellent industry standard.
Good Practice B+ Continuous improvement in SMS and best practice is clearly demonstrated.
B- Well managed SMS with good practice implemented. All indicators at least satisfactory, demon-strating a sound management capability.
Defined basis for development C Satisfactory managed and implemented SMS with only minor scope for improvement in some of the indicators.
D A broadly satisfactory SMS in place but with scope for improvement in many of the indicators.
Weak basis, few working processes E Some aspects of the SMS are satisfactory and provide potential for a good foundation, but there are major shortfalls in some indicators.
F Several major shortfalls exist across many of the sections. The SMS is unsatisfactory overall but it has an improbable basis.
Poor Practice, no system in place G Many major shortfalls across all sections, however those managing the SMS acknowledge this and can provide evidence of corrective action being undertaken.
H Unacceptable level of shortfalls in all indicators – the SMS will not be working.
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