MCA Approves First Ship Security Plans

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
The United Kingdom’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has recently approved the first two Ship Security Plans for UK flagged vessels. It expects these to be the first of many before the implementation date of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) on 1st July 2004. The first verifications of ships security systems have been scheduled for early November. The plan approved was for the vessel CMA – CGM Normandie. This has been carried out as a joint exercise between the operators of the vessel, Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd, and their security advisers, Maritime and Underwater Security Consultants (MUSC). Zodiac were pleased with the progress and are intending to implement the plan on board the vessel as soon as possible, ensuring that these new requirements will integrate well with their existing security arrangements. Zodiac are also looking forward to being able to arrange for the verification visit by surveyors of the MCA in order to confirm that an International Ship security certificate would be issued before the end of the year. Zodiac Maritime are operating agents for 42 UK flagged vessels and intend to extend their experiences in the approval process for the first vessel to the remainder of the fleet. MUSC, who have considerable expertise in ship security, have been co-operating with the MCA in providing valuable input into the training of MCA security surveyors and inspectors. A second plan has been approved for CS Sovereign, operated by Global Marine Systems Limited. The implementation of the ISPS code on Global Marine’s fleet, including Ship Security Officer (SSO) and Company Security Officer (CSO) training, is being undertaken in concert with their security consultants, SubServ Ltd. Captain John Golding, Global Marine’s Marine Operations Manager and CSO, said that he was looking forward to gaining the full International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) for the CS Sovereign in early November. He added: “Global Marine have taken a pro-active approach to implementing the internationally agreed security measures throughout its business, both at sea, and ashore in our world wide cable depots. The time allowed for implementing the ISPS requirements was very demanding, so the fast reaction of SubServ Ltd in preparing and holding training courses has allowed us to train about half of our Chief Officers as SSO’s. We are now in a good position to push on and get the rest of the cable ship fleet fully ISPS compliant. “ Mrs Anne Todd, Marketing Manager of SubServ Ltd, said that: “The co-operation and support of the MCA Surveyor for the `Sovereign’, was a key factor in the development and implementation of the CS Sovereign Ship Security Plan. We look forward to working with the MCA in the future to gain approval for our client’s security plans.” Phil White, Head of Maritime Security at MCA said: “UK ship owners must bear in mind that Ship Security Plans have to be submitted at the earliest opportunity, and no later than 31 January 2004. This is to ensure that the approval process can be carried out and that sufficient time remains for the plans to be put into operation on board the vessels before a verification visit is carried out. The Department for Transport is the body responsible for approving the plans and have split the approval process, with the Transport Security Division (TRANSEC) continuing to regulate passenger ship security and MCA being responsible for cargo ship security”.

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