October 14, 2003First U.K.-flag security plan approvals
The United Kingdom's Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has recently approved the first two Ship Security Plans for UK flagged vessels. It expects these to be the first of many before the July 1, 2004 implementation date of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS). The first verifications of ships' security systems have been scheduled for early November.
The plan approved was for the vessel CMA--CGM Normandie. The plan was developed as a joint exercise between the operators of the vessel, Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd, and its security adviser, Maritime and Underwater Security Consultants (MUSC).
Zodiac will now implement the plan on board the vessel as soon as possible, ensuring that the new requirements will integrate well with its existing security arrangements. A verification visit will then be made by MCA surveyors to confirm that an International Ship Security Certificate will be issued before the end of the year.
Zodiac Maritime is operating agent for 42 U.K. flagged vessels. It intends to extend its experiences in the approval process for the first vessel to the remainder of the fleet.
MUSC, which has considerable expertise in ship security, has been cooperating with the MCA in providing valuable input into the training of MCA security surveyors and inspectors.
A second plan has been approved for the cable ship CS Sovereign, operated by Global Marine Systems Limited. The implementation of the ISPS code on Global Marine's fleet, including Ship Security Officer (SSO) and Company Security Officer (CSO) training, is being undertaken in concert with security consultants, SubServ Ltd.
Captain John Golding, Global Marine's Marine Operations Manager and CSO, said that he was looking forward to gaining the full International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) for the CS Sovereign in early November. He notes: "Global Marine have taken a proactive approach to implementing the internationally agreed security measures throughout its business, both at sea, and ashore in our world wide cable depots. The time allowed for implementing the ISPS requirements was very demanding, so the fast reaction of SubServ Ltd in preparing and holding training courses has allowed us to train about half of our Chief Officers as SSO's. We are now in a good position to push on and get the rest of the cable ship fleet fully ISPS compliant."
Anne Todd, Marketing Manager of SubServ Ltd, said that: "The co-operation and support of the MCA Surveyor for the Sovereign, was a key factor in the development and implementation of the CS Sovereign Ship Security Plan. We look forward to working with the MCA in the future to gain approval for our client's security plans."
Phil White, Head of Maritime Security at MCA said: "UK ship owners must bear in mind that Ship Security Plans have to be submitted at the earliest opportunity, and no later than January 31,2004. This is to ensure that the approval process can be carried out and that sufficient time remains for the plans to be put into operation on board the vessels before a verification visit is carried out. The Department for Transport is the body responsible for approving the plans and hassplit the approval process, with the Transport Security Division (TRANSEC) continuing to regulate passenger ship security and MCA being responsible for cargo ship security,"