The latest ISPS Code implementation figures show a continuing improvement, particularly as far as port facilities are concerned, IMO Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos said today, Wednesday (30 June). The latest figures issued by IMO, on the eve of the entry-into-force date, suggest that the majority of ships and ports worldwide will have achieved full compliance and that many more are well on the way towards doing so.
“The figures released today indicate that the number of port facility security plans submitted and approved has increased significantly in the week before 1 July 2004,” Mr. Mitropoulos said. “Although the figures are changing constantly, at the moment the percentage of port facility plans approved has caught up with the percentage of International Ship Security Certificates issued. It is clear that all parties concerned, Governments and the industry alike, are doing their utmost to be ready for the entry-into-force date.”
The information in the following table is the result of an ongoing survey among IMO Member Governments, which between them, represent more than 80 per cent of world merchant shipping by tonnage. Mr Mitropoulos pointed out that the real picture should almost certainly be better than that suggested by the survey, as Governments understandably concentrate their efforts on reviewing and approving plans and issuing certificates rather than reporting their progress.
Mr Mitropoulos said he was encouraged that, in the light of these reassuring developments and the repeated public pledges and reports made at relevant IMO meetings, Member Governments, administrations and industry have pulled out all stops over the recent weeks and a high level of compliance has been achieved globally. He was optimistic that any disruption of trade would be avoided or at least kept to an absolute minimum.
In calling for a pragmatic and realistic approach in the period following entry into force, Mr Mitropoulos added that “We have not flicked a switch, indeed, even though the administrative processes may not all yet be completed – and that is, of course, a matter of regret, - the overwhelming likelihood is that the work already carried out by shipping companies and port facilities in preparation for the Code means that the actual level of preparedness, vigilance and awareness on the ground will be higher than it was anticipated only one week ago.”
He added, “This should naturally not distract us from the final goal, which is not only to be 100 per cent compliant but also to create the necessary security culture and raise our defences so high that the shipping industry does not become a target for terrorist activities.”
Mr. Mitropoulos, therefore, recommended SOLAS Contracting Governments not to become complacent and urged those, which have not yet done so, to implement the measures with all speed. “The challenge now,” he said “is to ensure that, once the entry-into-force date has passed, we do not drop our guard and relax. Protecting the industry, seaborne trade and the world economy at large is an ongoing duty and this is exactly what we should do.”