The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) along with the American Association of Port Authorities and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association brought together the ports of the Caribbean June 25-27, 2003, in Jamaica
, to discuss the implementation of new international security requirements. The workshop provided an in-depth overview of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, as required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) by July 2004.
The ISPS Code provides a standard global security framework that will enable ports, shipping companies and governments to operate on equal preparedness and response levels. The IMO developed the ISPS Code to implement maritime and port security regulations in response to heightened security issues since Sept. 11, 2001. Under the ISPS Code, port facilities will be required to have port facility security plans and port facility security officers.
“As the No. 1 destination for the cruise industry, the ICCL is interested in helping the ports in the Caribbean meet the consistent security levels required by the IMO ISPS Code,” said Ted Thompson, executive vice president, ICCL. The cruise industry has had security regulations in place for years with the U.S. Coast Guard that cover most of the ISPS Code requirements, such as company security officers and ship security officers. The cruise industry is already operating under the three levels (normal, medium and high) of security as outlined in the ISPS Code.
“Based on the cruise industry’s experience in implementing U.S. Coast Guard passenger vessel and passenger terminal regulations over the past six years along with our almost daily interaction with the Coast Guard, we are able to provide practical and pragmatic application examples to the Caribbean ports
for implementing the ISPS Code,” said Thompson.
Presentations at the workshop focused on port requirements, port facility security officers, ship and port interface issues and maintaining compliance (training, drills and exercises). Speakers included Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica, the chairman of the IMO Maritime Security Working Group
, and representatives from the Coast Guard, FBI, Lloyd’s Register, cruise lines and ports.
The Caribbean is the principal destination of cruises with 46.6% share of placement, according to Cruise Lines International Association’s 2002 Destination Analysis. Visits by cruise ships generate hundreds of million of dollars worth of business to ports of call. The cruise industry generates more than $2.6 billion in total economic impact throughout the Caribbean.