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What is the ISPS Code?
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Diplomatic Conference of December 2002 adopted new Regulations to enhance maritime security through amendments to SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Chapters V and XI.

Chapter XI, previously covering ship safety has been split into two new chapters, XI-1 and XI-2.

Chapter XI-1, Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Safety, has been enhanced to include additional requirements covering ship identification numbers and carriage of a Continuous Synopsis Record.

Chapter XI-2, Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Security, has been created and includes a requirement for ships and companies to comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

The Diplomatic Conference has also adopted amendments to existing SOLAS Regulations accelerating implementation of the requirement to fit automatic identification systems (AIS) on certain ships, and has agreed to work with the International Labor Organization and World Customs Organization to develop seafarer credentials.

In summary the ISPS Code:

  • enables the detection and deterrence of security threats within an international framework
  • establishes roles and responsibilities
  • enables collection and exchange of security information
  • provides a methodology for assessing security
  • ensures that adequate security measures are in place

It requires ship and port facility staff to:

  • gather and access information
  • maintain communication protocols
  • restrict access; prevent the introduction of unauthorized weapons, etc.
  • provide the means to raise alarms
  • put in place vessel and port security plans; and ensure training and drills are conducted.