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Maritime Terrorism And Changing Security Environment.

With the hardening of land and aviation targets, terrorists are likely to look at maritime targets. Countries worldwide should take the call to beef up maritime security seriously, say defence ministers and armed forces chiefs attending the Asia Security Conference in Singapore.

With a crack down on a particular terrorist network in Singapore last year, it was discovered that the group had made preliminary plans for suicide attacks on US military vessels entering into the harbour.

International cooperation against terrorism is important, "How do you ensure that of the thousands of containers that go into your country, none of them will have these weapons which can be used by terrorists or which can at some stage be detonated or blow up a port. US container security initiative will be a firm feature of world shipping and port operations in the coming years The ISPS code enables the detection and deterrence of security threats within an international framework it establishes roles and responsibilities, enables collection and exchange of security information, provides a methodology for assessing security, ensures that adequate security measures are in place. It requires ship and port facility staff to gather and assess information, maintain communication protocols restrict access, prevent the introduction of unauthorised weapons, etc. Provide the means to raise alarms, put in place vessel and port security plans and ensure training and drills are conducted.

Lloyd's Register has taken the initiative on maritime security, the amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention covering maritime security that come into force on July 1, 2004 have raised concerns within the shipping industry that the parties involved - shipowners, managers, port facilities, flag states and class - will be unable to cope with the workload within the deadline. It is therefore imperative that both classification societies, in their pending capacity as Recognised Security Organisations (RSOs), and shipping companies act quickly to ensure that the run up to compliance does not result in a stampede immediately prior to the deadline, as was the case with the implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. Moreover, the timely formulation and adoption of ship and company security plans, both of which are required under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code enshrined within SOLAS, will ensure that a 'security culture' is established, rather than turning the implementation of the ISPS Code into a mere 'paper exercise'.

Lloyd's Register is working hard to ensure that it will be ready to fulfill the industry's security requirements. Firstly, as a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), Lloyd's Register is playing an important role in the Association's ad-hoc working group on maritime security. The main purposes of the group are to arrive at a standardised audit methodology (IACS Procedural Requirement 24), to define the competence for ISPS auditors (Procedural Requirement 25), and to provide a standardised interpretation of the ISPS Code to ensure consistent application.

The working group met at Lloyd's Register's London Office from February 4 to 7, 2003. At this meeting, the group finalised its findings and agreed on a set of standards which are to be passed on to IACS' General Policy Group, which will in turn report to the IACS Council, currently chaired by Alan Gavin, Lloyd's Register's Marine Director. Andrew Mitchell, Lloyd's Register's Head of Marine Management Systems and also the chairman of the IACS ad-hoc working group on maritime security, says: "The IACS members emerged from the meeting with a uniform understanding of the way forward. We are united in our approach and ready to apply our competence and expertise to the problem of maritime security."

In addition to leading IACS' effort to set standards for the auditing of the ISPS Code, Lloyd's Register is also undertaking a number of other security-related initiatives, including the running of Expert Training Courses on maritime security for its own personnel, beginning in Rotterdam and then moving on to Hong Kong and Houston, and the publishing of its ISPS Practical Pack, which can be used by shipping companies as a framework for formulating their security plans, in conjunction with training.

"Lloyd's Register is doing its utmost to prepare itself to take on RSO duties," says Mitchell, "and we urge the shipping companies to begin their own work as soon as possible. We cannot begin to audit ships until their ship security officers and plans are in place. The more time it takes for companies to comply, the less time the RSOs will have to issue certificates." While Mitchell acknowledges that the timescale for compliance is highly compressed, he emphasises the need for shipping companies to create their own security plans. "Lloyd's Register's philosophy is that security management systems should be developed by the company with expert input, rather than having a third party do the entire job. We feel very strongly about that, and that's why we're providing the framework of the ISPS Practical Pack."

The ISPS Code requires that you plan and manage the security of your vessels. Security assessments, security plans, training, exercises, and the documentation of your security regime The ISPS Practical Pack will show you how to conduct security assessments and on-scene security surveys, how to use the results of your assessments and surveys to develop ship security plans, how to extend your planning efforts to achieve comprehensive security management system for your fleet how to conduct internal audits.

The ISPS Practical Pack is of value to every shipping company that will seek compliance with the ISPS Code. The pack provides a rapid and comprehensive programme that enables shipping companies, and those responsible for overseeing fleet security and safety, to meet the requirements of the ISPS Code on board their ships.

This course provides the information and tools needed to comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and United States Coast Guard (USCG) requirements for maritime security. The combination of accurate regulatory information, risk-based security assessment techniques, tools/examples you can use in developing your security program, and participatory workshops prepares you to meet the new security requirements effectively. It is specifically designed to meet the training requirements for company, ship, and port facility security officers.

Course attendees will receive extensive reference material, including a course notebook with detailed instructional material, a copy of the ABS Guide to Ship Security, security plans for both a ship and a port facility, and selected references on CD. Also, each attendee will receive a certificate indicating he/she attended a course that covered the pertinent security officer training topics from the ISPS Code Parts A and B.

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