Lines rick port Ban as Isps deadline looms

May, 24 2004

Most of the world's ships risk a ban from ports and the loss of the insurance unless they put antiterrorism measures in place and get them certified within 40 days. Only about 9.2 % of 20.722 ships surveyed had their security measures certified, while 57.5 % have submitted plans for approval, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In the case of ports and terminals, 5.4 % of the 5.578 surveyed had their security measures approved, and 23 % have submitted their plans for inspections. This low rate of implementation has brought a gentle reminder from IMO secretary- general Efthimois Mitropoulos for governments "to take drastic action by intensifying efforts, even at this late hour, to make sure operators comply with the code". Under the IMO's International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, ship owners, port and terminal operators must have individual security plans and designate security officers. The ISPS security code is to help protect ships, ports and terminals against terrorism. The measures such as installing alarms must be approved and certified by governments and independent inspectors by July the 1st. Failure to comply with the code will have "harmful repercussions on international trade and impact the world economy", Mr Mitropoulos said at the presentation at the UN agency's headquarters in London. The IMO's survey was based on information from 35 governments, representing 83 % of the world's gross tonnage and 65 % of merchant ships that must comply with the code. Inspection bodies, such as the American Bureau of Shipping and Lloyds Register, check vessels and ports to see if they have conformed to the code. Certificates and so-called statements of compliance are issued to those that have.