June 21, 2004

Mitropoulos calls for shipping lane security

As the Council of IMO (the International Maritime Organization) began its June 21-25 92nd session in London, the UN agency's Secretary General, Efthimios Mitropolous, made a call for strategically important shipping lanes to be protected from the threat of terrorism and to remain open for trade at all times.

Mitropolous said the IMO Secretariat had undertaken research work to "identify those shipping lanes which may be vulnerable to terrorist attacks." he said the Secretariat was "prepared and eager to work with others to act proactively in a manner which will protect, to the best of our abilities, the interests of safety, security, the environment, seaborne trade and the world economy."

Sea lane security, notably in the Malacca Strait, is emerging as a hot button regional issue. Today's Straits Times reports that Singapore has welcomed an Indonesian proposal for joint patrols with Malaysia to safeguard the Malacca Straits.

Indonesia's navy chief, Admiral Bernard Kent Sondakh, last Thursday said that his officials will meet their Malaysian counterparts soon to discuss beefing up security along the 900-km waterway, which carries a third of the world's trade and half of the world's oil supply.

The Straits Times story notes that the Indonesian proposal is the latest in a series of steps announced by the three littoral states (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) to help keep the waterway, already vulnerable to piracy, safe from terrorists.

Malaysia and Singapore, says the newspaper, have pledged to broaden cooperation on three fronts - coordinated naval patrols by the Royal Malaysian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy, better information sharing and the setting up of a reporting center to look into incidents at sea.

The newspaper quotes Singapore's Rear-Admiral (NS) Teo as reiterating Singapore's stand on the need to work with others in the international community.

Admiral Teo reportedly said that shippers, IMO, trading nations, port users and others "are also involved in this security issue in the Malacca and Singapore Straits...I hope they will be able to work together with the littoral states to improve security in the Malacca Straits."

ISPS: PORTS STILL LAG

Meantime, efforts to meet the July 1, 2004 compliance date for implementation of the ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) Code continue. Figures released by IMO today (see table) show a continued uptick in compliance by ships. Ports remain another story.

Mitropolous commented that while he is "optimistic" most ships will meet the July 1 deadline "the status of compliance by port facilities has not yet reached a satisfactory level despite repetaed calls to Governments to intensify their efforts."

WHAT CAN SHIPOWNERS DO AFTER VISITING NON-COMPLIANT PORTS?

This raises the issue of what happens to ships that visit non-compliant ports. Some guidance is given in a recent circular issued by IMO's Maritime Safety Committee

Ships

Governments (39 responses)

Number of ships liable to the Code
Ship Security Plans (SSP) submitted
International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued

 

21283
16676
7015

 

(33% up from 28.7% on 16 June)

IACS

Number of ships liable to the Code
Ship Security Plans (SSP) submitted
International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued

15049
11972
6300

(41.9%) ( as reported on 11 June)

INTERCARGO

Number of ships liable to the Code
Ship Security Plans (SSP) submitted
International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued

916
769
513

(56%) (as reported on 11 June)

INTERTANKO

Number of ships liable to the Code
Ship Security Plans (SSP) submitted
International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued

2136
2070
1205
(56%)(as reported on 16 June)

IPTA

Number of ships liable to the Code
Ship Security Plans (SSP) submitted
International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued

 

429
420
305

(71.1%) (as reported on 16 June)

ICCL

Number of ships liable to the Code
Ship Security Plans (SSP) submitted
International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued

118
113
78

(66.1%) (as reported on 16 June)

BIMCO

Number of ships liable to the Code
Ship Security Plans (SSP) submitted
International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued

2622
2189
488

(18.6%) as reported on 11 June)

Port facilities

Governments (39 responses)

Number of port facilities
Port Facility Security Plans (PFSP) submitted
Port Facility Security Plans (PFSP) approved

6582
2244
1065

(16.2% up from 10.8% on 16 June)

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