ABS will issue a new, comprehensive "Guide For Ship Security" in early January to assist shipowners in meeting the new IMO security standards. These standards are incorporated in the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), adopted by the Contracting Governments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 at the just completed IMO Diplomatic Conference.
"We have been preparing for these new responsibilities for some time," said
ABS President and COO Robert D. Somerville
. "However, we felt it prudent to
wait until the IMO had concluded framing the specific wording of the new
Code before publicly announcing the various measures we have developed to
assist shipowners worldwide."
Somerville pointed out that the final IMO language incorporates some
clarifying changes from the previously circulated drafts. "Now that a clear
framework has been agreed, ABS will move rapidly to meet these new
standards as a Recognized Security Organization
(RSO) and to assist our
clients through what will prove to be a challenging period of adjustment,"
The ISPS Code is designed to provide a standardized, consistent framework
for evaluating security threats, and determining appropriate measures to
address them. Security of ships and port facilities is fundamentally a
risk management activity requiring assessment of potential security
situations to identify threats, determine exposure, and evaluate possible
The new ABS Guide provides a clearly defined path for shipowners and
operators to follow to obtain certification of their ships to the new
international requirements. It also provides owners and operators with
additional security-related actions that can be taken above and beyond the
minimum SOLAS requirements leading to a class notation, indicating
conformance with the highest recognized international standards.
Within the Guide, ABS 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.
"We recognize the positive impact that sound security management can have
in reducing losses to the maritime industry and threats to national
economies and infrastructure," said ABS Americas President and COO Robert
E. Kramek. "This Guide clarifies the internationally agreed obligations of
shipowners with regard to security. And it offers a class notation for
those owners, particularly those trading regularly to the U.S., who want to
demonstrate the highest level of compliance. This is done by meeting the
requirements of the Code as well as additional measures recommended by
To provide a complete service to its customers, ABS is seeking designation
as a Recognized Security Organization (RSO) from the leading maritime flag