The SSAS is a one-way, ship-to-shore alarm that originates a silent and discrete security alert aboard ship as soon as the security of the vessel is under threat or compromised. As of 2004, all commercial vessels above 500 gross tonnages (GT) are required by the International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS) to have an operational SSAS installed.
- The alert includes ship identity and current position associated with date and time.
- Alert is transmitted via satellite to a competent authority designated by the vessel’s flag state or by the shipping-company.
- The flag state authority is responsible for notifying the appropriate response agencies.
- Onboard the SSAS must have a minimum of two activation points (one on the bridge) to be able to activate a “covert” alert, without raising alarm on board ship itself or other ships or being registered in the terminal logs.