Review on Consideration and Adoption of Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, International Maritime Organization (CORE1097)

Summary: The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code sets new standards for security for ships at sea as well as port facilities around the world. It aims to make shipping activities more secure against threats of terrorism, piracy and smuggling. Security at sea has been a concern to governments, shipping lines, port authorities and importers and exporters for years. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, however, provided the catalyst for formalizing tough new security measures. In December of 2002, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) organized a conference to discuss issues related to security at sea. At this conference, representatives from 150 nations (the Contracting Governments) participated in drafting amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, and the ISPS Code was adopted. Changes to the SOLAS Convention include amendments to Chapters V and XI, and Chapter XI was divided into Chapters XI-1 and XI-2. The new Chapter XI-2 provides the umbrella ISPS regulations. The Code itself is divided into two parts. Part A presents mandatory requirements, Part B contains guidance regarding the provisions of Chapter XI-2 of the Convention and part A of the Code. Source document is available at:

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Full review: The Code aims, among other things, to establish an international framework for co-operation between Contracting Governments, government agencies, local administrations and the shipping and port industries to detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade and to establish relevant roles and responsibilities at the national and international level. ISPS provisions relating to port facilities relate solely to the ship/port interface. Also, ISPS provisions do not extend to the actual response to attacks or to any necessary clear-up activities after such an attack. In addition, for each ship and port authority affected, the ISPS Code requires:

  • The implementation of a Ship Security Plan (SSP),
  • The implementation of a Port Facility Security Plan (PFSP),
  • The appointment of a Ship Security Officer (SSO),
  • The appointment of a Company Security Officer (CSO),
  • The appointment of a Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO),
  • The installation of ship alarms, and
  • The installation of shipboard Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

Enforcement Date: The ISPS Code went into effect on July 1, 2004.

Full citation:   Consideration and Adoption of Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, International Maritime Organization. SOLAS/CONF.5/32. 12 December 2002


Keywords: Maritime Security, Port Security, Ship Security Plan (SSP), Port Facility Security Plan (PFSP), Ship Security Officer (SSO), Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).


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