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May 26, 2004

ISPS compliance lags

Visiting Singapore, IMO Secretary General Efthimios Mitropoulos yesterday warned of shipping delays if shipowners fail to meet the July 1 deadline for implementation of the ISPS security code.

"Ships will be detained," the Straits Times reports him as saying. "There will be disruption."

A Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore spokesman said yesterday that all port facilities in Singapore already meet the code and some 90 percent of Singapore-flagged vessels are in compliance.

Worldwide, things are apparemtly less rosy. Mitropoulos reportedly told the Straits Times that an IMO tally compiled on Monday showed that only 301 of 5,578 port facilities meet ISPS and that just 1,933 of the 12,283 security plans submitted by commercial vessel owners have been approved.

However, Miropolous told the newspaper that "the situation is improving daily."

"I am optimistic that the situation will improve further between now and July 1," he reportedly said."Whether we reach 100 per cent compliance on July 1, I cannot say now but I would be happy to see it happen."

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