IMO urges early implementation of maritime security measures

Implementation of security measures adopted by the December 2002 Conference on Maritime Security should begin as soon as possible, IMO has urged, in a Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) Circular issued following consultations between IMO Secretary-General, Mr. William A. O'Neil, and the MSC Chairman, Mr. Tom Allan.

MSC/Circ.1067 notes that the new SOLAS chapter XI-2 on Special measures to enhance maritime security and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, adopted by the Conference, are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2004.

It would therefore be prudent, given the high number of ships and ports which will have to implement the decisions of the Conference, that all parties concerned start putting in place, methodically, systematically and as soon as possible, all the necessary infrastructure, including legislative, administrative and operational, needed to give effect to the decisions of the Conference.

It is important that parties do not await the entry-into-force date before consideration of these important issues so as to avoid the need to have to take hasty action at the last minute and also to avoid the need for control action against ships found not in compliance with the applicable requirements of SOLAS and the ISPS Code.

The circular points out that neither chapter XI-2 of the Convention nor the Code provides for any extension of the implementation dates for the introduction of the special measures to enhance maritime security adopted by the Conference.

SOLAS Contracting Governments and Member Governments having difficulty in implementing the decisions of the Conference are encouraged to seek assistance under IMO's Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme (which is currently implementing a global programme on maritime/port security).

In the meantime, Member Governments are invited to consider advising companies and ships operating under the flag of their State, to take steps, dependent on the degree of perceived risk in their ships' areas of operation, to increase awareness of potential dangers. This is considered very important so that the crews of the ships concerned may be extremely vigilant and alert to any security threat they may encounter or be suspicious of, whether they are in port, at offshore terminals or underway.

20 March 2003


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