August 6, 2004

"Regional pockets" lag in ISPS compliance

IMO reports that both ships and port facilities "are now approaching complete compliance" with the new international maritime security regime that came into effect with the July 1, 2004 implentation of ISPS (the International Ship and Port Facilties Security Code). However, "there remain regional pockets in which progress has not been as rapid as might be hoped."

The statistics suggest Africa is falling behind other continents in complying with the new regulations, with just over half of the 30 countries in Africa to which the Code applies reporting approved port security measures. Countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have also been slow to implement the measures.

Overall, though, the global compliance picture painted by IMO is a rosy one. According to the latest figures available to the IMO Secretariat from reports received by Governments, 89.5 percent of over 9,000 declared port facilities now have their Port Facility Security Plans (PFSPs) approved. IMO says this "shows considerable improvement from the 69 per cent reported on the July 1, 2004 entry-into-force date of the new regulatory regime."

And information on International Ship Security Certificates (ISSCs) issued for ships, indicates that the compliance rate is now well beyond the 90 percent mark, which compares favorably with the 86 percent of approved ship security plans reported on July 1,2004.

IMO says it continues to help those countries that experiencing difficulty in implementing the new security measures. In January 2002, IMO inaugurated a US$2.5 million Global Program on Maritime and Port Security. Worldwide activities under this programme have included seminars and workshops at regional and national level and more than 3,200 people have so far been trained throughout the developing regions.

While the program initially focused on raising awareness of maritime security threats, thre is now more emphasis on specific operational measures needed to safeguard the security of passengers and crews. A "Train-the-Trainer" program has been developed by IMO to provide Governments with trained instructors capable of delivering quality training using the relevant IMO Model Courses. The Train-the-Trainer programme gets underway in the second half of the 2004 and will be targeted at instructors from national institutions responsible for maritime security training

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