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Monday, September 24, 2018


The July 1st deadline for full implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) has come and gone with minimal disruption to world trade.

The rate of achieving full ISPS Code compliance for ships and of ports reached a remarkable pace during June, as the backlog of ship security plans and port facility security plans already submitted gained the approvals and certifications required by the ISPS Code. Overall, 53% of ships worldwide achieved their International Ship Security Certificates (ISSCs) by the deadline - but compare that with 23% mid June and only just over 9% mid May. The end result of this activity has been that delays and detentions due to maritime security have been minimised.

Many ship owners and operators were ahead of the game. In the U.S., focus of the drive for Maritime Security, 1,506 foreign vessels arrived 1-5 July. Of these, more than half had already been inspected and approved prior to July 1st. Of the rest, 19 were denied entry and 30 were detained. Thus control measures were exercised against 3.25% of foreign vessels calling at U.S. ports since the ISPS Code entered into force.

At the same time 53% of ports worldwide achieved full approval of Port Facility Security Plans by the deadline, compared to 11% mid June and 5% mid May.

So if that number of ships and ports were not compliant, how come world trade kept on going? Because the shipping industry had got its act together and, while not achieving 100% compliance, nevertheless made sure that key ships trading to key security areas were certificated ahead of time.

Because of the huge effort by the majority of ship owners and operators to achieve certification inside the deadline, and despite bottlenecks in the certification process with some flag states, world trade has continued to flow without a hiccup. Owners and operators trading regularly to the US and to Europe were ahead of the game, and in particular those involved in the wet and dry bulk businesses.

100% of tonnage registered with INTERTANKO (2175 tankers) submitted Ship Security Plans (SSPs) and 91% had had them approved by June 30. 72% were fully certificated which means that another 19% of certifications of the already-approved SSPs will not be far behind. Dry bulk shipowners’ association INTERCARGO members achieved 81% certification rate (742 out of 916) while the parcel tanker owners’ association IPTA achieved a creditable 99% (425 out of 429). Other ships were compliant in time but did not tell their association about it.

Contact: Bill Box