Detailed preparation for Maritime Security Conference surges ahead
Maritime Safety Committee – 75th session: 15 – 24 May
Three levels of security proposed to reflect risk and vulnerability assessments
The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has continued the detailed preparatory work for the diplomatic conference on maritime security that is to be held at IMO in December, to the point where confidence for a successful outcome to the conference is high. Nevertheless, in a reflection of the immense complexity of the issues being tackled by the Organization under this heading, the MSC has agreed to the convening of a second intersessional working group on the subject, to be held from 9th to 13th September 2002.
Among a raft of items designed to address maritime security issues, the most far-reaching is a proposed International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) which would be implemented through SOLAS chapter XI. The Code would have two parts, one mandatory and the other recommendatory.
In essence, the Code takes the approach that ensuring the security of ships and port facilities is basically a risk management activity and that to determine what security measures are appropriate, an assessment of the risks must be made in each particular case.
The purpose of the Code is to provide a standardized, consistent framework for evaluating risk, enabling governments to offset changes in threat with changes in vulnerability for ships and port facilities.
To begin the process, each Contracting Government would conduct port facility security assessments. Security assessments would have three essential components. First, they must identify and evaluate important assets and infrastructures that are critical to the port facility as well as those areas or structures that, if damaged, could cause significant loss of life or damage to the port facility’s economy or environment. Then, the assessment must identify the actual threats to those critical assets and infrastructure in order to prioritise security measures. Finally, the assessment must address vulnerability of the port facility by identifying its weaknesses in physical security, structural integrity, protection systems, procedural policies, communications systems, transportation infrastructure, utilities, and other areas within a port facility that may be a likely target. Once this assessment has been completed, Contracting Government can accurately evaluate risk.
This risk management concept would be embodied in the Code through a number of minimum functional security requirements for ships and port facilities. For ships, these requirements would include:
For port facilities, the requirements would include:
In addition the requirements for ships and for port facilities include:
To ensure implementation of all these new requirements, training and drills will naturally play an important role.
Because each ship (or class of ship) and each port facility present different risks, the method in which they will meet the specific requirements of this Code will be determined and eventually be approved by the Administration or Contracting Government, as the case may be.
In order to communicate the threat at a port facility or for a ship, the Contracting Government would set the appropriate security level. Security levels 1, 2, and 3 correspond to low, medium, and high threat situations, respectively. The security level creates a link between the ship and the port facility, since it triggers the implementation of appropriate security measures for the ship and for the port facility.
The draft preamble to the Code states that, as threat increases, the only logical counteraction is to reduce vulnerability. The Code provides several ways to reduce vulnerabilities. Ships would be subject to a system of survey, verification, certification, and control to ensure that their security measures are implemented. This system would be based on a considerably expanded control system as stipulated in the Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Port facilities would also be required to report certain security related information to the Contracting Government concerned, which in turn would submit a list of approved port facility security plans, including location and contact details to IMO.
Among a number of other security-related items addressed, the committee agreed:
Draft maritime security-related resolutions adopted by MSC 75
The 75th meeting of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee was held under the Chairmanship of Mr Tom Allan of the UK at the IMO’s London headquarters from 15th to 24th May, 2002. The Committee’s work on maritime security was carried out in a working group chaired by Mr Frank Wall of the United Kingdom.
In his concluding remarks to the Committee, IMO Secretary-General William O’Neil said, “This had indeed been an historical session, not so much from the viewpoint of the volume of work the Committee was able to accomplish and the thousands of pages of documents it dealt with but, more importantly, in respect of the substance of the decisions made”.
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