With the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code implementation date fast approaching, the Paris MOU Advisory Board has taken steps to remind owners of vessels visiting MOU ports that they need to take action now and submit their shipboard security plans for approval. The mandatory date of compliance for the ISPS Code is July 1, 2004. This means with only six months to go, serious concerns still remain as to the logistics of getting the shipboard security plans of 30,000 vessels approved before the deadline. To encourage owners to act, the Paris MOU Advisory Board has agreed their own measures.
As from January 1, 2004, ships visiting ports in the MOU region that do not have an International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) available onboard will be issued with a Letter of Warning (LoW). The LoW will be recorded on the central database known as SIReNaC, where all port state control inspection reports are kept. As from July 1, 2004, aspects which will be considered by port state control officers will include:
- that a valid ISSC is on board
- control of access to the vessel and sensitive areas of the ship
- that records are held of the last ten ship to port, or ship to ship interfaces
- if security drills and exercises have been carried out at required intervals, taking account of crew changes
- if the master and ship’s personnel appear to be familiar with essential ship security procedures
- whether key members of the ship’s personnel are able to communicate effectively
- if a subsequent Interim ISSC has been issued to avoid full compliance with ISPS
- whether the ship identification number is permanently marked in a visible place.
If, after July 1, 2004, deficiencies are recorded against any of these items, action may be taken by the port state control officer or the competent security authority. Paris MOU currently comprises of the following member states: Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.