What is international ship and port facility security code?

The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code establishes essential security requirements for ships, ports, terminals, carriers, seafarers, and cargo as a means to prevent maritime security hazards or any mishaps.

The ISPS code came into force in 2004, when it was passed as an amendment to the SOLAS (Security of Life at Sea) convention under chapter head IX-2. Under the ISPS Code, appropriate security officers and personnel are assigned to each ship, port facility, and shipping company.

The code is divided into two parts namely, Part A and Part B. The mandatory requirements of the ISPS code are contained in Part A, while Part B contains the recommendatory guidelines on how to meet the requirements detailed in Part A.

The code applies to the following types of ships traveling in international waters:

  • Passenger ships, including high-speed passenger crafts
  • Cargo ships, including high-speed vessels of 500 gross tonnage and above
  • Mobile offshore drilling units
  • Ports facilities serving the above-mentioned ships

Need for ISPS Code

When the 9/11 attacks shook the world, it left the authorities questioning. They needed a safer, more robust set of regulations to prevent such mishaps from taking place again.

Since the seas are one of the easiest ways of getting into international territory, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) felt the need to strengthen the existing measures, and thus the ISPS code was formed.

Objectives of ISPS code

The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code serves some key goals, including, but not limited to:

  • Establish an international skeleton that promotes cooperation among obligated governments, their agencies, local authorities, and the shipping ports.
  • Identification of potential security threats to ships or port facilities used for international trade and have preventive measures against such threats.
  • Determine the respective roles and responsibilities of every party concerned with safeguarding maritime security at ports and on board ships — at the regional, national, and international levels.
  • Provide a procedure for effective assessment of ship and port security and to facilitate the development of ship, company, and port facility security plans to respond to varying security levels.

The ISPS code was conceived to make sure that attacks such as 9/11 will not be reflected in international waters, and thus laid the foundation of vigorous maritime security regulations. This makes it the most sought-after and efficient maritime anti-terror regulation in place.

Terms related to International Ship and Port Facility Security Code

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