The International Ship and Port facility Security Code (ISPS) was implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to establish a framework involving maritime nations and the shipping industry to enhance security at the sea.
Several steps have been taken under the ISPS code to enhance the security of ships. The main objective of ISPS code is to build co-operation between governments of maritime nations and the international shipping industry to detect security threats related to maritime operations.
Under the ISPS code, governments of maritime nations abiding by the implement rules are known as contracting governments (CG). The contracting government plays a vital role in order to ensure that the ISPS code is followed properly by the companies and port authorities. It is also the duty of the CG to assimilate information regarding possible maritime threats and their consequences. This information is then to be provided to the ships and ports in form of instructions and security guidelines.
It is also the duty of Contracting Government to carry out the following:
- Assign appropriate security levels after assessing the security information obtained
- To develop a port facility security plan (PFSP) to ensure that security measures are designed and assigned in a systematic manner for the protection of ships, ports, cargo, and ship personnel
- If required, the contracting government must assign a port facility security officer (PFSO) who will be responsible for the development, implementation, revision, and maintenance of the port facility security plan
- Exercise control and compliance of the ISPS code
- Exercising the requirement of declaration of security (DOS). Declaration of security is a set of minimum security requirements, which a ship can ask for when dealing with another ship or port
- Develop and test the performance of the ship security plan (SSP) and port facility security plan (PFSP), and amend them as and when required
It is necessary that the contracting governments work in coordination with the ISPS authority, gathering and assessing information regarding security threats to the shipping industry.