December 15, 2004

Paris MOU reports results of security campaign

With the introduction of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code on July 1, 2004, countries signatory to the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Ports State Control (the Paris MOU) mounted a three month program to verify compliance with new security requirements for ships.

Results show that of the 4,681 security checks carried out only 72 resulted in the ship's detention on security grounds.

Alan Cubbin, Chairman of the Paris MOU Committee said "I believe that the policy of issuing visiting ships with Letters of Warning in the run up to the Code deadline helped to ensure that most owners met their obligations to bring about a more secure shipping environment. While the level of compliance is encouraging the challenge for industry is to maintain its vigilance and for security to become engrained in the operation of ships."

The program, which was held in conjunction with the Tokyo MOU, ran from July 1 to September 30. It used a uniform questionnaire to test the key elements of the ship's security arrangements.

Aspects considered by Port State Control Officers (PSCO) included:

• the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) and inappropriate use of Interim Certificates

• access control

• access control to sensitive areas of the ship

• security level

• records of ship/port interfaces

• records of security drills

• crew familiarity with essential ship security procedures

• communication among key crew members

An analysis of program results shows that a total of 4,681 security checks were made on 4,306 individual ships.

A total of 28 inspections resulted in detention solely on security grounds while another 44 ships were detained on security and other grounds. This represents a rate of 1.5% of inspections resulting in detention for security reasons compared with an overall detention rate for the period of 5.7%. Monthly figures revealed an improving level of compliance as the program progressed. In July, 50 ships were detained, compared with 13 in August and 9 in September.

Sixty ships were detained due to a lack of a valid ISSC while further 45 had problems with their certificates which did not result in detention.

Ships found not to be in compliance are subject to a range of measures from straightforward rectification to expulsion from the port.

In most cases non-compliances were rectified on the spot.

The most common non-compliance was a failure to record previous ports of call. This was found on 349 occasions. Problems with access control onto and around the ship were found in just over 200 inspections; 215 inspections revealed a failure to keep records of security drills.

In cases where the PSCO found areas of non-compliance the Competent Security Authority was called in to consider taking further control measures. In some states this authority is quite separate from the port state control authority and therefore subsequent actions against the ships may not have been recorded by the PSCO.

Of those flags with more than 10 inspections and more than one detention the following six showed rates above average.

Flag State Inspections Detentions on Security Grounds DetentionRate
Georgia 56 5 8.9%
North Korea 22 5 22.7%
Panama 471 10 2.1%
Russian Federation 205 11 5.4%
St. Vincent & Grenadines 186 3 1.6%
Syrian Arab Republic 20 2 10%
TOTAL ALL FLAGS 4,681 72 1.5%

Ships registered with these six flags accounted for 50% of all detentions on security grounds.

Much of the certification for ISPS was carried out by Recognised Security Organisations (RSO) on behalf of the ship's flag state. Some of these RSO are new to the PSC regime and the data in respect of these organisations was not sufficiently complete for analysis. It is also the case that most of the security detentions were due to lack of valid certification which generally is outside the control of the RSO itself.

Nearly 90% of the security detentions were on ships 15 years or older.

Results show a wide variation of compliance according to ships type: 51 general dry cargo ships were detained, a rate of 2.6%, and refrigerated cargo ships, while having fewer detentions (4), had a detention rate of 3.6%. Ro-Ro cargo ships had a rate of 1.1% with oil tankers, bulk carriers and container ships just 0.6%, 0.5% and 0.2% respectively.

Richard Schiferli, General Secretary of the Paris MOU said, "This was a very new area for our PSCOs but they were well prepared for the programme following special training seminars. The end of the programme is not the end of security checks and PSCOs will continue to develop their knowledge and experience in this field and work closely with their security authorities.""

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