What is SSP or Ship security plan?

Each ship shall carry on board a ship security plan approved by the Administration. The plan shall make provisions for the three security levels as defined in  the Code.

The company security officer (CSO) has the responsibility of ensuring that a ship security plan (SSP) is prepared and submitted for approval. The content of each individual SSP should vary depending on the particular ship it covers. The ship security assessment (SSA) will have identified the particular features of the ship and the potential threats and vulnerabilities.

The preparation of the SSP will require these features to be addressed in detail. Administrations may prepare advice on the preparation and content of a SSP.

  •  A recognized security organization may prepare the ship security plan for a specific ship.
  • The Administration may entrust the review and approval of ship security plans, or of amendments to a previously approved plan, to recognized security organizations.
  • In such cases, the recognized security organization undertaking the review and approval of a ship security plan, or its amendments, for a specific ship shall not have been involved in either the preparation of the ship security assessment or of the ship security plan, or of the amendments, under review.
  • The submission of a ship security plan, or of amendments to a previously approved plan, for approval shall be accompanied by the security assessment on the basis of which the plan, or the amendments, has been developed.

Such a plan shall be developed, taking into account the guidance given in part B of ISPS Code, and shall be written in the working language or languages of the ship. If the language or languages used is not English, French or Spanish, a translation into one of these languages shall be included. The plan shall address, at least, the following:

  1. Measures designed to prevent weapons, dangerous substances and devices intended for use against persons, ships or ports and the carriage of which is not authorized from being taken on board the ship;
  2. Identification of the restricted areas and measures for the prevention of unauthorized access to them;
  3. Measures for the prevention of unauthorized access to the ship;
  4. Procedures for responding to security threats or breaches of Security, including provisions for maintaining critical operations of the ship or ship/port interface;
  5. Procedures for responding to any security instructions Contracting Governments may give at security level 3;
  6. Procedures for evacuation in case of security threats or breaches of security;
  7. Duties of shipboard personnel assigned security responsibilities and of other shipboard personnel on security aspects;
  8. Procedures for auditing the security activities;
  9. .Procedures for training, drills and exercises associated with the plan;
  10. Procedures for interfacing with port facility security activities;
  11. Procedures for the periodic review of the plan and for updating;
  12. Procedures for reporting security incidents;
  13. Identification of the ship security officer;
  14. Identification of the company security officer, including 24-hour contact details;
  15. Procedures to ensure the inspection, testing, calibration, andmaintenance of any security equipment provided on board;
  16. Frequency for testing or calibration of any security equipmentprovided on board;
  17. Identification of the locations where the ship security alertsystem activation points are provided; and
  18. Procedures, instructions and guidance on the use of the ship security alert system, including the testing, activation, deactivation and resetting and to limit false alerts.

Personnel conducting internal audits of the security activities specified in the plan or evaluating its implementation shall be independent of the activities being audited unless this is impracticable due to the size and the nature of the Company or of the ship.

  • The Administration shall determine which changes to an approved ship security plan or to any security equipment specified in an approved plan shall not be implemented unless the relevant amendments to the plan are approved by the Administration. Any such changes shall be at least as effective as those measures prescribed in chapter XI-2 and t the Code.
  • The nature of the changes to the ship security plan or the security equipment that have been specifically approved by the Administration, as per ISPS code guide , shall be documented in a manner that clearly indicates such approval. This approval shall be available on board and shall be presented together with the International Ship Security Certificate (or the Interim International Ship Security Certificate). If these changes are temporary, once the original approved measures or equipment are reinstated, this documentation no longer needs to be retained by the ship.

The plan may be kept in an electronic format. In such a case, it shall be protected by procedures aimed at preventing its unauthorized deletion destruction or amendment

  • The plan shall be protected from unauthorized access or disclosure. Ship security plans are not subject to inspection by officers duly authorized by a Contracting Government to carry out control and compliance measures in accordance with regulation XI-2/9.
  • If the officers duly authorized by a Contracting Government have clear grounds to believe that the ship is not in compliance with the requirements of chapter XI-2 or part A of this Code, and the only means to verify or rectify the non-compliance is to review the relevant requirements of the ship security plan, limited access to the specific sections of the plan relating to the non-compliance is exceptionally allowed, but only with the consent of the Contracting Government of, or the master of, the ship concerned.

The SSP should establish the security measures covering all means of access to the ship identified in the SSA. This should include any:

  1. Access ladders;
  2. Access gangways;
  3. Access ramps;
  4. Access doors, sidescuttles, windows and ports;
  5. Mooring lines and anchor chains; and
  6. cranes and hoisting gear.


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Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.