SOLAS XI-2 and the ISPS Code

The International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code

Having entered into force under SOLAS chapter XI-2, on 1 July 2004, the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) has since formed the basis for a comprehensive mandatory security regime for international shipping. The Code is divided into two sections, Part A and Part B. Mandatory Part A outlines detailed maritime and port security-related requirements which SOLAS contracting governments, port authorities and shipping companies must adhere to, in order to be in compliance with the Code. Part B of the Code provides a series of recommendatory guidelines on how to meet the requirements and obligations set out within the provisions of Part A.

The main objectives of the ISPS Code include:

ISPS Code image.PNG

  • establishment of an international framework that fosters cooperation between Contracting Governments, Government agencies, local administrations and the shipping and port industries, in assessing and detecting potential security threats to ships or port facilities used for international trade, so as to implement preventive security measures against such threats
  • determining the respective roles and responsibilities of all parties concerned with safeguarding maritime security in ports and on board ships, at the national, regional and international levels;
  • to ensure that there is early and efficient collation and exchange of maritime security-related information, at national, regional and international levels;
  • to provide a methodology for ship and port security assessments, which facilitates the development of ship, company and port facility security plans and procedures, which must be utilised to respond to ships' or ports' varying security levels; and
  • to ensure that adequate and proportionate maritime security measures are in place on board ships and in ports.

In order to achieve the above objectives, SOLAS contracting governments, port authorities and shipping companies are required, under the ISPS Code, to designate appropriate security officers and personnel, on each ship, port facility and shipping company. These security officers, designated Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs), Ship Security Officers (SSOs) and Company Security Officers (CSOs), are charged with the duties of assessing, as well as preparing and implementing effective security plans that are able to manage any potential security threat. IMO is able to provide support to Member states in need of assistance in implementing the Code, by way of national and regional workshops, seminars, needs assessment missions, etc.

The Guide to Maritime Security and the ISPS Code

Since the publication of IMO's 2012 edition of the Guide to Maritime Security and the ISPS Code (the Guide), developed to assist SOLAS Contracting Governments, port facility personnel and the shipping wider shipping industry, IMO, through a Global Maritime Security programme that is part of the Organization's Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme (ITCP, develops and implements a comprehensive technical cooperation projects and activities worldwide, with the Guide as a basis. The focus is primarily on assisting States in the implementation, verification, compliance with, and enforcement of, the provisions of the IMO maritime security measures, including the ISPS Code and SOLAS chapter XI-2, counter-piracy initiatives, the SUA Convention and Long-range Identification and Tracking (LRIT).

Capture 19.PNG

The 2012 Guide is a compendium of maritime security related information, drawn primarily from IMO sources. It is comprised of the ISPS Code's non-mandatory Part B, as well as a variety of maritime security related IMO resolutions, circulars and circulars letters, a full list of which is provided in Appendix 1.2 of the Guide (IMO Guidance material on Maritime Security Measures, 1986 - 2011). In particular, the Guide assists port facility personnel with security duties and shipping company employees with security duties in ports, port facilities and on board ships. Through it, all relevant stakeholders possess a consolidated and comprehensive source of guidance material, which also contains appropriate linkages to other ongoing IMO initiatives.

Other sources of guidance material include:

  • The ILO/IMO Code of practice on security in ports
  • Presentations at IMO national and regional workshops and seminars
  • Relevant webpages of SOLAS Contracting Governments and multilateral organizations
  • Information made available to IMO by Contracting Governments on their organizational structures, practices and procedures such as: the guidance they issue to their port facilities and shipping companies; as well as their implementation experience

The ISPS Code, the 2012 Guide and other IMO publications are available for purchase at IMO's Catalogue & Book Code List.



ILO/IMO Code of practice on security in ports

The Conference of Contracting Governments to the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (London, 9 - 13 December 2002), adopted, among others, Conference resolution 8 on "Enhancement of security in co-operation with the International Labour Organization".Conference resolution 8, inter alia, invited the IMO and the ILO to establish a joint ILO/IMO Working Group to undertake any further work required on the wider issue of port security.

ILO-IMO Security In Ports.jpg

Preparatory work including the formulation of an initial draft ILO/IMO Code of practice on security in ports, was undertaken by an informal ILO working group on maritime security, in which the IMO Secretariat, Worker's representatives and representatives from governments and the industry participated.

The Joint ILO/IMO Working Group on Port Security, which was established by MSC's seventy-seventh session in June 2003, with appropriate Governmental representation, met in Geneva from 9 to 11 July 2003. The Working Group reviewed the initial draft ILO/IMO Code developed by the informal group and subsequently adopted it. The draft was reviewed further by a Sub-Committee of the Tripartite Meeting of Experts on Security, Safety and Health in Ports held in Geneva from 8 to 17 December 2003.

The Code of practice, which is available in English, French and Spanish, complements the provisions of the ISPS Code as far as safeguarding the security of the wider port area is concerned. It was approved by the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) at its 289th session in March 2004 and approved by the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its seventy-eighth session in May 2004.