Transport Minister David Collenette today announced a new marine security-reporting requirement for a wide range of Canadian-flagged vessels and port facilities. The Canadian requirement will complement new security rules announced today by the U.S. Coast Guard.
"We have moved ahead with this action in response to input from stakeholders on the importance of a comprehensive security regime, our own assessment of the risks and threats in the marine sector, and our consultations with U.S. authorities," said Mr. Collenette. "Moreover, Transport Canada and the U.S. Coast Guard are working closely together to coordinate and harmonize the marine security regimes of the two countries, so that Canadian-flagged ships that meet our security standards can enter U.S. harbours."
With today's announcement, operators of certain classes of vessels operating on international voyages or on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway will be required to identify themselves to Transport Canada for marine security purposes. These include:
· cargo vessels of 100 gross tons or greater;
· towing vessels greater than eight metres in length engaged in towing certain classes of barge; and
· passenger vessels carrying more than 12 passengers.
Port facilities that serve SOLAS-class vessels must also meet this requirement. SOLAS refers to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of the International Marine Organization and applies to vessels that have a displacement greater than 500 tons which operate internationally.
Fishing vessels and pleasure craft are exempt from this requirement.
Once vessel operators have reported, they will be requested to conduct a security assessment and develop a security plan for submission to Transport Canada. Following Transport Canada approval of a vessel security plan, the department will issue the operator a security certificate that will allow them to enter U.S. and Canadian waters. A similar process applies to U.S. vessels under U.S. regulations.
This approach builds on Transport Canada's commitment to implement new marine security regulations for vessels and port facilities by July 1, 2004, as required by the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
The deadline for reporting is November 28, 2003. Vessel and port facility operators that have already reported to Transport Canada and are developing security plans need
not do so again.