The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangement for ships, ports and government agencies.
The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities, developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Having come into force in 2004, it prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.”
The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) has since formed the basis for a comprehensive mandatory security regime for international shipping.The Code is divided into two sections, Part A and Part B. Mandatory Part A outlines detailed maritime and port security-related requirements which SOLAS contracting governments, port authorities and shipping companies must adhere to, in order to be in compliance with the Code. Part B of the Code provides a series of recommendatory guidelines on how to meet the requirements and obligations set out within the provisions of Part A.
The ISPS Code is part of SOLAS so compliance is mandatory for the 148 Contracting Parties to SOLAS.
Main objectives of ISPS code are:
- To establish an international framework involving co-operation between Contracting Governments, Government agencies, local administrations and the shipping and port industries to detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade;
- To establish the respective roles and responsibilities of the Contracting Governments, Government agencies, local administrations and the shipping and port industries, at the national and international level for ensuring maritime security;
- To ensure the early and efficient collection and exchange of security-related information;
- To provide a methodology for security assessments so as to have in place plans and procedures to react to changing security levels; and
- To ensure confidence that adequate and proportionate maritime security measures are in place.
Following types of ships engaged on international voyages are covered under the ISPS: