EC Adopts Proposal to Implement IMO Agreement on Security

Monday, May 12, 2003
On May 2, the European Commission adopted a Communication on enhancing maritime transport security and made a proposal for a Regulation on enhancing ship and port facility security The Commission's proposal for a Regulation is based on the agreement, reached in the IMO in December 2002, to amend the SOLAS Convention on the Safety of Lives at Sea and the adoption of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. The mandatory provisions of the IMO agreement include a requirement for ships to be permanently marked with their identification number, fitted with an automatic identification system (AIS) and a ship security alert system, and to be issued with a continuous synopsis record (CSR). Ship, company, and port facility officers must also be appointed and are responsible for preparing security plans, taking into account the risk assessment. The Commission states in its Communication that it unreservedly supports the IMO initiative and has in fact decided to go further than the IMO agreement in some respects. The Commission made a decision to make mandatory some of the provisions contained in Part B of the code, which were voluntary under the IMO agreement. Their motivation is both to raise the level of security and to avoid differences of interpretation between EU Member States. Therefore, the provisions of the IMO agreement relating to the revision of ship security plans, to port facility security assessment, to the protection of the confidentiality of security plans and assessments and the minimum competencies of recognized security organizations have, amongst others, been made compulsory. Also mandatory are the minimum standards for the ship security assessment, the ship security plan, the port facility security assessment and plan as are the provisions relating to the frequency of security drills and exercises in port facilities and for port facility security officers, ship's crews and company and ship security officers. The May meeting of IMO's Marine Safety Committee will begin work on guidelines for implementation and the IMO agreement comes into force in July 2004. It is expected that EU Member States will therefore progress quickly with their consideration of the proposal. The Commission states in its Communication that it is important that the Community play a driving role. (Source: Intertanko)

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