THE AMENDMENTS TO THE 1974 SOLAS CONVENTION, CHAPTER XI
Against a background of potential threat to maritime shipping and ports, IMO's Diplomatic conference on Maritime Security in December 2002 adopted new regulations to enhance maritime security through amendments to SOLAS Chapter XI. Chapter XI has been split into two chapters, where Chapter XI-1, "Special measures to enhance maritime safety" has been expanded to include additional requirements to Ship Identification Numbers and the carriage of a Continuous Synopsis Record. Chapter XI-2, "Special measures to enhance maritime security", addresses the mandatory requirements such as the provision of Ship Security Alert System and also refers to the ISPS Code making it mandatory.
THE INTERNATIONAL SHIP AND PORT FACILITY SECURITY (ISPS) CODE
Owners and operators of ships have the primary responsibility for ensuring the physical security - and safety, indeed - of their ships, and the new security measures are centered around the adopted ISPS Code. Part A of the ISPS Code is mandatory, whereas Part B of the ISPS Code has been adopted as a guidance and is recommended. The regulations and the ISPS Code applies to the following ships on international voyages:
- All passenger ships including HSC ships
- All cargo ships and HSC above 500 gt
- MOU in transit.
The Code has been effective from July 1, 2004.
An important part of the Code is the way risk is assessed and treated: as every ship and every port facility is different, the Contracting Government shall determine and set the appropriate security level:
- Security Level 1: Normal; the level at which ships and port facilities normally operate.
- Security Level 2: Heightened; the level applying for as long as there is a heightened risk of security incident.
- Security Level 3: Exceptional; the level applying for the period of time when there is a probable or imminent risk of a security incident.
The security levels create a link between the ship and the port facility since it triggers the implementation of appropriate security measures for the ship and the port facility.
ARS as an RSO is authorized to:
- Approve Ship Security Plans
- Perform Security audits of ships
- Issue the International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC).
Specially qualified personnel is ready to provide all necessary information, instructions or suggestions upon a relevant request with high quality standards and with the constant main objective for safer ships and cleaner seas.