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Monday, December 18, 2017

USCG will accept short-term ISSC certificates

The US Coast Guard will accept short-term International Ship Security Certificates (ISSC) issued by organisations authorised by flag states.

The issue of the acceptability of short-term certificates to the US CG appears to have gained greater significance by the difficulties Panama has been experiencing in processing ISSCs.  This register has still issued full ISPS Code certification to only just over half its fleet. In an effort to speed up compliance with the ISPS Code by the 1 July deadline, Panama decided earlier this month to allow 20 classification societies to issue these certificates.

The US CG has made it clear that short-term certificates are acceptable whereas interim certificates have already been ruled out - and still are. It refers to the ISPS Code (Part A, 19.3.1) where it is stated that ISSCs may be issued for a period specified by the administration, which shall not exceed five years. In the case of Panama, short-term certificates will be valid for five months.

US Coast Guard officer Capt Joseph Servidio confirms:

“Short term ISSCs are acceptable and should not be confused with Interim ISSCs.  As per the ISPS Code (Part A, 19.3.1), ISSCs can be issued "for a period specified by the Administration, which shall not exceed five years"; in the case of these short term ISSCs issued by Panama that period is for 5 months and this is fine. These short term ISSCs can only be issued if all of the requirements for issuance of a full term ISSC have been met, and only for administrative reasons has the length of the period of validity been reduced from the 5 year maximum.”

He adds, “It should be noted that several IACS Class Societies have internal quality systems that also preclude their field surveyors from issuing full term Certificates; their field surveyors can issue short term Certificates for 5 months with the Classification Society office reviewing their work and issuing the full term 5 year Certificates.”

Confusingly, he also states, “The USCG will accept properly issued Interim ISSCs provided these are duly issued by the Administration or the RSO on behalf of the Administration in accordance with the procedures of the ISPS Code, Part A, Section 19.4. Please note in particular the proper reasons for which an Interim ISSC may be issued (Section 19.4.1 especially) and be advised that the USCG will check for such valid reasons when performing port state security control on vessels that hold Interim ISSCs.”

INTERTANKO is checking and verifying the situation and will add information as it comes in to the Maritime Security section of its website.

ContactGunnar Knudsen