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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Shipping industry’s security preparations keep world trade moving

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

The rate of achieving full ISPS Code compliance for ships achieved a remarkable pace during June, as the backlog of ship 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.

So if that number of ships 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, says the Round Table of international shipping associations (BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO).

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.

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. BIMCO membership achieved 80% compliance (10,700 of 13,407). 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.  ICCL, the cruise ship organisation whose members mainly trade out of the U.S. achieved a remarkable 100% compliance by July 1.

The other reason that world trade did not grind to a halt is because no country wants to see trade disrupted – the financial and political implications would be too severe. The last few days before the July 1 deadline showed evidence of a more pragmatic approach in some areas – not a decrease in overall rigour, but an advance in the willingness to be realistic. The general tone since the ISPS Code’s entry into force has shifted from confrontation between ship/shipowner and port state, to cooperation – at least cooperation with those who are doing a good job.

The Round Table of international shipping associations urges all those involved in verifying maritime security to take note of the efforts made by the shipping industry to achieve a smooth passage through the early days of ISPS Code implementation, and to continue to strive for cooperation rather than confrontation.

The Round Table of international shipping associations  - RTisa


ICS - International Chamber of Shipping

INTERCARGO – International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners

INTERTANKO – International Association of Independent Tanker Owners


BIMCO - Peter Grube
Tel : +45 44 36 6800  Fax : +45 44 36 6868

ICS - Simon Bennett, 
Tel: +44 20 7417 2857;  Fax: +44 20 7417 8877

Tel: +44 20 7977 7036;  Fax: +44 20 7977 7031

INTERTANKO – Bill Box,   
Tel: +44 20 7977 7023;  Fax: +44 20 7977 7011