Maritime Safety Committee

Maritime Safety Committee

International Chamber of Shipping
12 Carthusian Street
London EC1M 6EZ
Telephone +44 20 7417 8844
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International Chamber of Shipping Limited
Registered in England No: 2532887 at the above address /

27 May 2004



MSC 78, which met from 12 to 21 May, offered the last opportunity for IMO member States, and the industry, to address issues related to the coming into force of the security related amendments to SOLAS and the ISPS Code on 1 July 2004. Once again, time constraints meant that some issues were rushed through and others not fully addressed.

A report on the security issues addressed by the meeting, together with the outcome of their considerations, is attached.

We would draw your attention specifically to:

a)Item 5 - security measures and procedures to be applied during ship/port interface when either the ship or the port facility do not comply with ISPS requirements;

This guidance would apply whenever a ship is visiting a port which is not shown as “approved” in the IMO database. Following such visits, ships might expect a more rigorous examination/inspection at subsequent ports and an ability to supply a record of actions taken in respect of security will be important.

b)Item 9 - shore leave and access to ships

Debate on this issue resulted in an MSC Circular calling on all Governments to ensure that there is

“a proper balance between the needs of security, the protection of the human rights of seafarers and port workers, and the requirement to maintain the safety and working efficiency of the ship by allowing access to ship support services such as the taking on of stores, repair and maintenance of essential equipment, and other vital activities that are appropriately undertaken while moored at port facilities.”

c)Item 10 - the interim guidelines for port State control officers on inspecting ships.

These “Interim” Guidelines lay down

a)the information which port States will seek from visiting ships;

b)security issues for port State inspectors to examine;

c)control measures which port States can apply to visiting ships.

It is especially important that these guidelines are widely circulated throughout the industry as they indicate the issues which will be addressed by port State inspectors after 1 July. Any failure to comply with the IMO requirements in the areas indicated is likely to result in the imposition of control measures. IMO Member States in Europe, North America and other major trading areas have consistently warned of a “zero tolerance” policy in respect of ships which are not in compliance.

ICS has misgivings about this IMO guidance, believing that, in certain areas, the powers given to port State inspectors exceed those allowed for in the SOLAS Regulations and the ISPS Code. We would be very interested to receive reports on the application of these guidelines, especially where ships are subjected to control measures or other harrasments and, together with other industry organisations, will shortly be issuing a standardised form for the submission of such reports.

Follow up

At the end of the security debate at MSC, ICS made a statement to the full Committee, a copy of which follows. As a result of that statement, the Security Working Group reconvened to address just one of the issues, in point 3 of the attached – when ships should start collecting information on their “last 10 ports of call”. A decision was made that this need only start in respect of ports visited from 1 July onwards.

ICS remains concerned that the responsibilities of both port States and flag States under the ISPS Code will not be fully addressed by 1 July and that, as a consequence, ships will be subjected to port control measures for non-compliance in areas beyond the control of the ship or its operator.

Members are urged to seek to ensure that these concerns are addressed.

P B Hinchliffe

General Manager, Marine
ICS statement to MSC 78 on maritime security – 21 may 2004

“Mr Chairman,

MSC 78 was a milestone meeting, the last opportunity before 1 July to seek clarification on a number of pressing issues that could smooth the implementation deadline for the ISPS Code. ICS approached the meeting with this foremost in our mind. Our three submissions posed a range of questions on behalf of our membership; questions that have arisen from their experience whilst working toward ISSC certification.

At this stage we do not find that all of this information has been provided. In particular we highlight four matters:

1.There is still almost a complete lack of information on port security preparedness available to the shipping industry. (At least one administration claims that the lack of port information is to preserve security.) It is not possible to identify through the designated IMO database that ports have been approved and are compliant with ISPS. We understand that the database now shows just one country with approved ports - congratulations to Iceland. Even the list of security contact points remains largely incomplete. The net result of this is that every ship calling at every port will have to raise a DOS. Without this, it will not be possible to claim that the measures taken in the ten previous ports were adequate. The amount of extra paperwork and the time expended can only be imagined at this stage.

2.Our surveys of the industry’s readiness indicate that shipowners have done their best to comply with the new requirements. Despite this, we fear that many ships will be left without the ISSC on 1 July through circumstances beyond their control – where the RSO or flag State has failed to produce the final certificate or the CSR in a timely fashion. Clarification on how this situation can be addressed was sought and remains unanswered, due to lack of time.

3.When a ship arrives in port and the list of the ten previous ports of call provides clear grounds to suspect that security has been compromised – a detailed inspection will result. If that inspection reveals nothing untoward, will the ship be exempt from inspection in the next port? In other words is the slate wiped clean by the comprehensive inspection. Additionally, it remains unclear whether ships will be expected to provide to port state control on 1 July, the statutory information on the ten ports visited before 1 July, bearing in mind that this could go back to 2003. Another issue for which there is no guidance.

4.Finally, much work has gone into the development of what should, in our often expressed view, have been called ‘guidance for port state control inspectors on maritime security’. Mr Chairman, from the title onwards, emphasising control and the imposition of penalties, what has been produced makes the presumption that all ships are guilty of security contravention until proven innocent. As an example, SOLAS regulation XI-2/9.1.1 which appears in the interim guidelines at chapter 4.1 clearly states that unless “clear grounds” exist for believing that the ship does not conform to the requirements – and here I quote – “control shall be limited to verifying that there is on board a valid International Ship Security Certificate …. which if valid shall be accepted.” The interim guidelines, however, go further. In chapter 4.3.5 port state control officers are guided to check other documentation and to check whether drills and exercises have been carried out; in 4.3.6 they are guided to check records – issues which would require the interrogation of the master or crew. This guidance goes far beyond the “limit” of just ISSC verification.

We urge port states to bear in mind that the threat from ships will not undergo a transformation on 1 July. The vehicles of world trade at sea today will be the same ships, with the same crews, doing the same work after that date; they will be no more guilty and no more of a threat to national security than they are today. If applied correctly, the world will be a safer place thanks to the awareness created through ISPS – if applied correctly the scourge of armed robbery and piracy will also be inhibited.

Mr Chairman, the responsibility for the successful implementation of the security measures falls not just on ships but also on flag and port states. We ask all concerned to ensure that those responsibilities are fulfilled.

We urge port states to continue to conduct their business with pragmatism and an eye for the realities of the world. Flag States still have 40 days to fulfil their responsibilities to their ships.”


Report on the Working Group on Maritime Security


The IMO Working Group on Maritime Security (MSWG) met during MSC 78 from 13 to 19 of May 2004 again under the Chairmanship of Mr. Frank Wall.

The shipping industry was represented by






Terms of reference for the Working Group

The working group was required to consider and advise MSC 78 on:

.1the Format and Guidelines for the Maintenance of the Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR));

.2those cargo-related IMO instruments which may need to be amended to include appropriate security related provisions

.3developments in Long Range Tracking

.4some practical implications of the ship security alert requirements

.5the security measures and procedures to be applied during ship/port interface when either the ship or the port facility do not comply with ISPS requirements;

.6the establishment of a mechanism for resolving conflicting interpretations of the ISPS Code;

.7the status of shipyards;

.8interfacing with an FPSO or an FSU;

.9guidance relating to the ability of seafarers to go ashore for shore leave and for joining and leaving a ship after the agreed period of service; and

.10finalize the proposed guidelines for port State control officers on Control and Compliance Measures.


The Working Group decided, before making the format and the guidelines for the maintenance of the CSR mandatory, it will be necessary to allow a reasonable period for Contracting Governments to gain practical experience through the use of the format and the guidelines for the maintenance of the CSR as detailed in resolution A.959(23). This will enable, if necessary. the improvement of the format and the guidelines for the maintenance of the CSR. The CSR is a new document and thus guidelines for the issue and maintenance of the CSR need to evolve in order to develop a standard practice for its use.

There would be no amendments to the current legislation at this stage.


The Working Group agreed to recommend that the various Sub-Committees identify the various instruments under their responsibility, which may need to be reviewed and amended so as to include appropriate security-related provisions.


a)LRIT parameters to be reported

The Working Group agreed that, from the security point of view, the only information which needs to be provided by a ship is the identity of the ship, its location (latitude and longitude) and the time and date of the position. No other information is needed.

They also agreed that the LRIT system should be designed to ensure the integrity of the data and to prevent the intentional transmission of false information.

The Group noted that the flag State has the right, at any time, to request and require ships entitled to fly its flag to provide whatever information, including LRIT information, that State considers necessary. Likewise, from the moment a ship has advised a port State of its intention to enter a port facility located within its territory, the port State may request the ship to provide further information which may include LRIT. Nothing prohibits a coastal State from approaching the flag State of a particular ship with a request, in the light of any security related concerns the coastal State may have, for additional information.

b)Interface of LRIT with AIS

The Group agreed that LRIT should not be interfaced with AIS.

c)Provision of LRIT information to a coastal State

The Group agreed that coastal States should be able to receive LRIT information from ships exercising the right of innocent passage and not intending to proceed to a port facility under their jurisdiction – but could not agree on the range within which such information could be made available. Some states suggested 200 nautical miles, others requested up to 2,000 nautical miles. Some delegations expressed the view that, instead of a distance off shore, the period of time a ship may require to reach the coast of a coastal State should be used as a criterion.

Since flag states should be entitled to receive LRIT information on their own ships worldwide, the technical capability for worldwide tracking had to exist. It remained an issue for future consideration as to how much access to the global tracking system a coastal state might have.

The Group agreed that the LRIT system:

.1must be capable of being switched off on board in cases where the flag state considers that the receipt of information by another Government may compromise the safety or security of the ship or of the flag State; and

.2must be capable of preventing a named coastal State from receiving LRIT information, where requested by the flag State.

d)The role of IMO

It was agreed that the Organization should not be involved in collecting, storing and disseminating LRIT information but should approve the LRIT providers. Governments should be able to purchase LRIT information directly from the approved LRIT providers, subject to certain, still-to-be-agreed provisions.

e)Impact study

The Group agreed that the conduct of an impact study appeared, at this stage, not to be desirable. However, if, in addition to security, LRIT is expanded to include safety and pollution prevention aspects, or if the architecture of the LRIT is to be amended (for example in such a way to require the installation on board of dedicated equipment), then the issue of the impact study might need to be reconsidered.

f)The proposal of the United States (document MSC 78/3/5)

It was decided that discussion of the United States paper was premature.

g)Other technical aspects

The Group agreed that IMO should consider and address the priority of the LRIT signal.


a)Distress/Security Double Alerts

The Group produced guidance in relation to “distress/security double alerts”. (See Annex 1)

b)Response Arrangements

The Group agreed that, because a number of Governments may have already put in place arrangements addressing response arrangements, it was inappropriate, at this stage, to develop further guidance except in the matter of the receipt and distribution of security alerts.

This guidance is attached at annex 2.


It was recognised that paragraph B/9.5 1 of the ISPS Code which recommends that the ship security plan (SSP) should establish details of the procedures and security measures the ship should apply when:

.1it is at a port of a State which is not a Contracting Government;
.2it is interfacing with a ship to which the ISPS Code does not apply;

.3it is interfacing with a fixed or floating platform or a mobile drilling unit on location; or

.4it is interfacing with a port or port facility which is not required to comply with chapter XI-2 and part A of the ISPS Code;

and thus considers that guidance, in this respect, is only required for those ships which have not already included appropriate provisions to this end in the approved SSP.

In such cases, if the ship’s approved SSP does not already include such provisions, the ship should attempt to conclude, if possible, a Declaration of Security with the port or take the following action:

.1record the actions taken by the Company Security Officer (CSO) and/or Ship Security Officer (SSO) to establish contact with the Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO), and/or any other persons responsible for the security of the port, ship or platform being interfaced;

.2record the security measures and procedures put in place by the ship, bearing in mind the security level set by the flag State and any other available security-related information; and complete and sign, on behalf of the ship alone, a Declaration of Security on those occasions when the ship is unable to identify the person responsible for security of the port facility;

.3implement and maintain the security measures and procedures set out in the Declaration of Security throughout the duration of the interface;