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Shipping Regime

by msecadm4921

A new security regime for international shipping could mean protection of ports and container ships could be the growth area in security in 2003.

Roy Winfield of Marine Risk Consulting and Investigations told Professional Security that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) measures mark a ‘huge step’. Port authorities and shipping companies will each have to draw up security plans, and designate security officers. Security equipment may well have to be installed for monitoring of cargo, and for access control. Ships will have to carry an International Ship Security Certificate. It should mean a big call for security training, surveying and inspecting in the maritime field – a massive industry, given the tens of thousands of freight and passenger vessels worldwide. MRCI for one are looking to take on more staff to meet demand. Roy Winfield said that liners, mirroring upgrades to airline security, have already taken security steps: ‘They are ahead of the game; but freight is the big concern. Volumes of freight are astronomical, and imagine a security incident that stops freight going around the world.’ He pointed out that given terrorists are out to make a statement, one scenario could be that a terrorist detonates a bomb in a container and warns that several more are in unspecified containers, thereby disrupting traffic.
While piracy – theft of cargo and attacks on crews – are a concern to the IMO, it admits that the new security regime was prompted by 9-11. The measures follow more than a year of what the IMO calls intense work by its Maritime Safety Committee. There are questions – again mirroring airline security – about how effective any international code can be, given that a regime is only as strong as the weakest link, and security will be in tension with the need for swift turn-arounds in people and cargo. Also, the maritime industry is raising the concern that there is little worth in them investing more in on-board security – as ship owners seek to minimise crew numbers – if governments do not live up to their responsibilities under the code. Speaking after a December conference agreed to the code, IMO Secretary-General William O’Neil told delegates: ‘You have also succeeded, through the interest the Conference has generated worldwide, in highlighting and promoting the need for the development of a security consciousness in all that we do to complement IMO’s existing objectives of developing a safety culture and an environmental conscience." Mr O’Neil also stressed the need for vigilance: ‘In the meantime, all involved in the operation of ships and ports should continue to be aware of the potential dangers to shipping through acts of terrorism and the need to be extremely vigilant and alert to any security threat they might encounter in port, at offshore terminals or when underway at sea." The IMO describes the code as taking a risk management approach. Each Government must conduct port facility security assessments, with three parts:<br>
1) evaluate assets and infrastructures critical to the port and structures that, if damaged, could cause significant loss of life or damage;<br>
2) identify the actual threats to those critical assets and infrastructure, to prioritise security measures;<br>
3) address vulnerability of the port by identifying its weaknesses in physical security, structural integrity, protection systems, procedures, communications systems, transportation infrastructure, utilities, and other likely targets. <br>
The code is not to come into force until July 2004 at least.

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