This paper addresses the importance of the development of maritime safety culture, in terms of sustainable shipping through continuous improvement of the safety management system (SMS) that enables a shipping company’s personnel to effectively implement the company’s safety and environmental policy. The main aim of the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (International Safety Management Code – ISM Code), which was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and became mandatory, by virtue of its entry into force on the 1st of July 1998, in SOLAS Chapter IX on the Management for Safe Operation of Ships, is to provide an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships as well as pollution prevention. Thus, compliance with the ISM Code and its effective enforcement is necessary to ensure adequate standards of safety and pollution prevention. The purpose of this paper is to show that the internationally unified legal measures that have been developed under the IMO in the ISM Code are an instrumental consequence of maritime safety values, and allow them to be achieved in practice. The result of this research is the justification of the thesis concerning the need to create a safety culture as a condition for sustainable shipping, including the safe operation of ships in the environment.