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Maritime Security and Piracy

The IMO has, as an integral part of its mandate, the duty to make travel and transport by sea as safe as possible.

A comprehensive mandatory security regime for international shipping entered into force on 1 July 2004 and included a number of amendments to the 1974 Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), the most far-reaching of which enshrined the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), which contains detailed security-related requirements for Governments, port authorities and shipping companies in a mandatory section (Part A), together with a series of guidelines about how to meet these requirements in a second, non-mandatory section (Part B).

The purpose of these maritime security measures is to:
  • establish an international framework involving co-operation between Contracting Governments, Government agencies, local administrations and the shipping and port industries to detect/assess security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade;     
  • to establish the respective roles and responsibilities of all parties concerned, at the national and international level, for ensuring maritime security; 
  • to ensure the early and efficient collation and exchange of security-related information; 
  • to provide a methodology for security assessments so as to have in place plans and procedures to react to changing security levels; and
  • to ensure confidence that adequate and proportionate maritime security measures are in place.

The objectives are to be achieved by the designation of appropriate officers/personnel on each ship, in each port facility and in each shipping company to prepare and to put into effect the security plans.

IMO works with Member Governments and  the maritime industry, to suppress piracy and armed robbery against ships and has demonstrated considerable success, particularly in the Asia Pacific Region. Most recently the Organization has focussed efforts on working collaboratively to counter piracy in waters impacted by Somalia-based piracy.

To support the mandate the IMO has a small team of staff supported by specialist consultants who provide advice and guidance to Member States and the maritime industry.

  IMO supports the Save Our Seafarers campaign





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