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What is SSAS or Ship security and alert system and its details?

Written by Amit Sharma

The ship security alert system is provided to a ship for the purpose of transmitting a security alert to the shore to indicate to a competent authority that the security of the ship is under threat or has been compromised. It comprises a minimum of two activation points, one of which is on the navigation bridge. These initiate the transmission of a ship security alert. The system is intended to allow a covert activation to be made which alerts the competent authority ashore and does not raise an alarm on board ship nor alert other ships.

Note :
  • The now ship security and alert system (SSAS) regulations were adopted by IMO to enhance maritime security in response to the increasing threat from terrorism and piracy. Irmasat C, Mini C, or D + may be used for SSAS system.
  • It is a compact unit with inbuilt GPS and power supply.
  • The intention of this system is to send a covert signal or message from a ship which will not aware of the alert mechanism, to is of use therefore to inform a person ashore of a problem with a minimum number of the persons on board aware of the action.
How SSAS works ?

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.
Ships to be provided with a SSAS:

According to the international requirements regarding the security of ships and of port facilities (SOLAS XI-2, regulation 6) ships must be provided with a SSAS as follows

About the author

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.

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