IMO security cooperation program "in full swing"
As the July 1, 2004 deadline for implementation of ISPS nears, IMO says that a global technical cooperation program aimed at helping governments strengthen maritime and port security, is in full swing and "having a significant impact, particularly in the developing world."
IMO launched the program in January 2002, eleven months before the Diplomatic Conference on Maritime Security adopted amendments to the SOLAS Convention and the related International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS).
The initial aim of the global program was to raise awareness of maritime security threats and of the regulatory measures that were being developed at that stage. Activities carried out during 2002 included the development of lesson plans and manuals and the delivery of sub-regional seminars, workshops and advisory missions. A total of eight sub-regional seminars or workshops were conducted.
Since the adoption of the ISPS Code in December 2002, training materials have been updated twice in order to place more emphasis on practical approaches to implementation of the new regulatory regime, with particular attention on the preparation of port facility security assessments and plans. Furthermore, to provide a dedicated source of financial support for the maritime security technical co-operation activities and, in particular, for national initiatives in the developing regions, a Maritime Security Trust Fund has been established. In addition, IMO has developed and published model courses for Ship Security Officers, Company Security Officers and Port Facility Security Officers.
To date, IMO has delivered or supported 19 advisory and needs-assessment missions, as well as high-level briefings at national level, and has organized 18 regional and sub-regional and 35 national seminars/workshops covering all developing regions. To date, 2,691 personnel from maritime administrations, shipping companies, ports and industry and regional organizations have been trained.
IMO is currently in the process of commissioning the production of a training package, which will incorporate relevant elements of the SOLAS amendments, the ISPS Code, the IMO model course for Port Facility Security Officers (No. 3.21) and the ILO/IMO Code of Practice on Security in Ports, which is set to be approved by both organizations during 2004. The training package is likely to incorporate a CD-ROM containing video-clips, written materials and inter-active, web-based links.
To further enhance the existing program for maritime and port security, IMO is also developing a related "Train-the-Trainer" program. The objective is to assist Governments to strengthen regulatory implementation by enlarging the pool of trained instructors capable of delivering high quality maritime security training at the national and regional level, using IMO's updated training package and its three model courses for security officers. The program will seek to identify potential instructors from Member States and the industry who, following initial training through IMO, can return to their countries and regions and train other instructors.