U.S. rejects greater USCG role to check flag ISPS Code certification

A U.S. House/Senate Conference Committee yesterday rejected proposals coming from the House of Representatives to require the U.S. Coast Guard to expand its current role of ensuring adequacy of flag-state certifications on ISPS Code compliance to include its direct supervision and approval of these plans.

Although the topic of much discussion in the United States in recent months, proposals from certain House members to expand the Coast Guard's traditional Port State role of ensuring documentary compliance with the ISPS Code and Ship Security Plan into substantive supervision of the content of such plans, faced a number of objections, not the least of which was the budgetary implications of such a mandate.

A compromise position of having the Coast Guard certify Classification Societies, and other private entities that provide security plan screening for Flag States, was also proposed. After somewhat unusual open discussion of the issues by members of both House and Senate, it was affirmed that the status quo position would continue. This position was favoured by virtually all sectors of the maritime industry.

Contact: Howard Snaith