Thursday, April 01, 2004

Pnma: Hurry up with ISPS

In the wake of the March 11 al-Qaeda attack on Madrid William O'Neil, the Secretary General of the London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO, a United Nations agency) has called on the world maritime industry to speed up its implementation of the new International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), which is set to go into effect in the United States and many other countries on July 1. ISPS was adopted in the face of a worldwide terrorist threat and persistent rumors that the al-Qaeda network owns or controls a number of ships that could be converted into floating bombs to attack major ports.

The ISPS regulations require that every ship have an approved security plan and a security officer --- who can be the ship’s master wearing an additional hat --- on board. The code requirements vary as to the size and type of ship, and include a part A of mandatory measures and a part B of recommended guidelines. ISPS also regulates security at international seaports, which will also have to have approved security plans and designated officers to implement them.

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