The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) reports that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has recently issued formal approval of its recently updated OMSA Alternative Security Plan (ASP).
The new OMSA ASP is the first ASP to incorporate cybersecurity requirements.
USCG regulations require vessels to have an approved security plan in place. As an alternative to writing their own plan, the USCG provides vessel operators the option of using a third-party plan, provided such plan is approved every five years by the USCG. Currently, five trade associations offer ASPs to their members.
By adding a cybersecurity section, the OMSA ASP is providing a clear path toward, and actionable tools to achieve, compliance with the existing and rapidly approaching vessel cybersecurity requirements for U.S. inspected vessels.
The section was developed using the guidance recommended by the USCG and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and provides the vessel with cybersecurity procedures for the management of both information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) systems.
The OMSA ASP provides multiple control measures to prevent a cybersecurity-related incident and guidance on the response and reporting of a cybersecurity incident in support of the vessel operator’s cybersecurity program.
The cybersecurity guidance has been fully integrated into the Vessel Security Assessment (VSA) procedures and all forms and checklists as applicable. This provides guidance for vessel-specific cybersecurity measures to be developed by the Company Security Officer (CSO) and Vessel Security Officer (VSO) as part of the VSA.
OMSA Director of Regulatory Affairs, Mark Crutcher, says, “OMSA’s incorporation of cybersecurity into our ASP is evidence of our continued efforts to increase the level of membership service, specifically addressing the most pressing needs of our members.”
While the OMSA ASP was initially written for vessels in the offshore oil and gas industry, this revision increased the scope to a broad range of vessels. OMSA also has ASPs available for barges and U.S. vessels engaged in international markets.