ABS has secured a contract with Bahamas-based Dockendale Shipping Company Limited to certify 33 of its vessels to the requirements of the International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS). Dockendale has also requested that it be audited to the additional ABS security criteria for the award of the relevant class notation (SEC).
The class notation is particularly advantageous for those vessels trading regularly to the US and for owners wanting to demonstrate the highest levels of security compliance.
ABS Manager of Safety, Environment & Security Certification Capt. Patrick Falwell, praised Dockendale’s proactive approach towards meeting the new international security standard
. “The deadline is 1 July of next year,” Fallwell pointed out. “Those operators who act quickly will beat the inevitable last minute press of companies seeking certification, making the process simpler, easier and quicker for all concerned.”
Although the 1 July 2004 deadline has been widely reported to industry as the compliance deadline, Fallwell notes US flagged vessels will need to submit their security plans and assessments to the USCG by 31 December 2003---now just weeks away.
Dockendale Marine Manager Capt. S. Chopra commented that “ABS has really helped us understand the implications of these new regulatory requirements. Their Guide to Ship Security was immensely helpful to all our staff, and their quick authorization as an RSO by the leading flag States and rapid establishment of a worldwide team of fully trained security auditors will greatly facilitate the certification process for us.”
Capt. Falwell stresses that a key element in easing the certification process is for a company to undergo a pre-assessment audit of submitted or approved vessel security plans. “A pre-assessment can help identify and rectify potential problems prior to the formal certification audit of the vessel, speeding the entire process,” he says.
Explaining the decision to also seek the full ABS SEC security notation, Chopra noted that many of the Dockendale vessels trade into US ports. “The ABS notation takes into account the highest security standards that are applicable in the US and worldwide,” he says. “By gaining this notation we can demonstrate to the US Coast Guard that we have adopted these same highest standards on each of the ships under our control.”
ABS has been authorized to act as a Recognized Security Organization (RSO) by more than 21 of the leading flag Administrations. Each flag Administration may delegate authority to approve ship security plans, perform security audits of ships and issue the necessary International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) on behalf of governments.
The second edition of the widely distributed ABS Guide to Ship Security was released in mid-September and takes into account the latest US government requirements. It outlines the certification process and describes specific security responsibilities of companies and individuals. Within ship security, for example, guidance is provided in areas such as: ship security alert systems, plans and records; training, drills and exercises; company and ship security officers; and audit and review.