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07 Feb
DryBMS: A new safety standard for dry bulk sector

The DryBMS (Dry Bulk Management Standard)

At the beginning of January 2021, RightShip and INTERCARGO launched DryBMS which is a new quality standard for the dry bulk sector. The standard will be governed by a new NGO to be established later this year and will support the improvement of safety in the dry bulk segment.During August 2020 both organizations combined their expertise to create a single framework for the whole industry. Supported by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and BIMCO, DryBMS now exists as a simple set of best practices and key performance indicators with the aim to raise the bar on safety, environmental and operational excellence.In particular, the DryBMS is an independent standard for the dry bulk shipping sector and its voluntary use and reporting, has no influence on the risk rating issued by Rightship’s star system. The final draft is still open for feedback. Anyone interested in reviewing the standard in its present form can visit the DryBMS website and provide any feedback to

Structure of DryBMS

DryBMS is a voluntary standard that prioritizes improvement in standards in the dry bulk marine sector. This voluntary program is designed to allow ship managers to measure their Safety Management System (SMS) against agreed industry standards, with the aim of improving fleet performance and risk management. This will ensure an operator’s policies align with industry best practice to both advance their performance and attain high standards of health, safety, security and pollution prevention.Guidelines focus on 30 areas of management practice across four important risk areas in vessel operations; performance, people, plant and process. DryBMS will grade the excellence of a company’s SMS against measurable expectations and targets without involving the burdens of excessive inspections.Each area can be completed to one of four levels:

  1. Basic
  2. Intermediate
  3. Advanced
  4. Excellence

By assessing their management systems against voluntary standards and carrying out continual improvement to meet the higher stages, companies can help improve their safety performance – and that of the industry’s performance as a whole.The standard identifies 17 priority subject areas that are considered to have the greatest impact on safety, environment and operational efficiency. If companies have sufficient resources, they should self-assess all 30 subject areas; however recognizing that some smaller companies may find it difficult to tackle all areas, it is suggested to start focusing on the priority areas before moving on to the rest in due course.The identified priority Subject Areas are:

1. Commitment to HSSE
6. Master’s reviews & company evaluation
7. HR management and recruitment (office)
9. Crew management & recruitment
10. Crew technical & HSSE training (vessels)
12. Contractor management
14. Maintenance 19. Mooring & anchoring
16. Critical equipment
17. Engine room operations & bunkering
20. Cargo & ballast
21. Bridge procedures & standards
22. Risk assessment & management
23. Permit to work
26. Management of change including

 These areas may be considered as priority areas but gaps identified to them have no different impact on the score than the remaining 13 subject areas.


Within each subject area, and based on the self-assessment, a score will be marked for each level based on the following criteria:

  • This level is not met: 0%
  • This level has substantial opportunities for improvement: 25%
  • This level is partially met: 50%
  • This level is substantially met: 75%
  • This level is fully met: 100%

The percentages for each stage are totaled and divided by 100 to give a score out of four.Unless the score for the basic level is 100%, scores for the intermediate, advanced and excellence levels will be scored at 5% of the self-assessed score. Unless the scores for both the basic and intermediate levels are 100%, scores for the advanced and excellence levels will be scored at 5% of the self assessed score.

Actions required

Ship Managers wishing to use the standard should review the final draft of the subject areas and perform a detailed gap analysis to their Safety Management System in order to identify the status of compliance for each level of DryBMS. Depending on outcome, some changes may be required to SMS or other procedures and practices in order to achieve compliance. Ship Managers may use the self-assessments every year to monitor status of compliance and achieve targets set. Self-assessments may also be carried out when there are significant changes in the organizational structure, fleet size or management system.