Few events in recent history have shaped the course of the future like that of September 11th, 2001 attacks on the United States of America. The events of that fateful day not only shook the US, but also the economies of other countries around the world. Recognizing the vulnerability of countries through gateway ports for terrorist attacks, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) made adoption of International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) code mandatory. The code was made applicable on all vessels of 500 gross tonnage and above engaged in international voyages, and all ports from July1st, 2004. According to guidelines, ships and ports without ISPS code compliance would not be allowed to operate after July 1st ,2004.
ISPS security levels
There are 3 levels of security have been implemented basis this code;
- Security level 1 (Normal)- The level for which standard security measures shall be maintained at all times
- Security level 2 (Heightened)- The level for which appropriate additional security measures shall be maintained for a period of time as a result of heightened risk of a security incident
- Security level 3 (Exceptional)- The level for which further additional security measures shall be maintained for a limited period of time when a security incident is probable or imminent, although it may not be possible to identify the specific target.
The New Law of High Seas Applicable to Ships and Ports
The new IMO rules stipulate that ships must have;
- A security officer
- A unique identification number visible from the air
- An alarm system that sends a covert signal to the country that flags it if something violent happens onboard
- The identification checks for people who board the vessel and restrictions on entry to the engine room and bridge.
- Automatic identification systems
In addition, ships must also give notice of 96 hours before reaching a port, information on the crew, passengers, cargo and voyage history. If there are clear grounds that a ship is not in compliance, it may be subjected to a more detailed inspection, delay or detention, restriction of operations or movement in port, or denial of entry. Vessels are also advised to undertake an IMO- recommended certification.
Declaration of Security is with the port facility in order to coordinate security precautions. Other areas which are covered while the ship is in port include ship access, restricted areas, cargo handling, the ship’s stores and general monitoring of the vessel’s security.
G. Shipping Anti-Terror Code
In India too, levels of participation and commitment ran high as all ports and shipping lines under the watchful eyes of DGS (Director- General of Shipping) shipping strove to achieve ISPS code compliance much before the D- day of July 1st, 2004. The DGS, as Designated Authority for the implementation of ISPS code, has adhered to all the requirements outlined by the IMO.
All the Major Ports have already achieved compliance. According to Industry officials, India has become one of the first countries to achieve 100 percent compliance, along with Singapore. In addition, a state- of- the – art communication centre to receive ship security alert and other necessary security- related information as required under the ISPS code were in place.
All non-major ports belonging to State Maritime Boards including captive ports are required to have ISPS Code certification done if they are handling International Shipping.
Indian ports are now part of a select group of ports that have been listed on the website of IMO, as ports declared compliant by the designated authorities of the respective countries. This site forms an integral part of IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS). It facilitates communication of maritime security–related information by contracting governments, pursuant to SOLAS.
Though the certification is important, what really counts is the work that has been done on the ground; security officers appointed on ships, in companies and port facilities, training undertaken, security plans drawn up, awareness raised, and vigilance heightened. IMO also stressed the importance of ensuring that International shipping lines are always protected from threat of terrorism and remain open for trade.
Security in Port
Aside from reducing exposure to terrorism, technology – based security measures are likely to increase the efficiency of cargo handling, cargo movement tracking and people movement.
Citing the case of standardized electronic manifests which save time and reduce costs through quicker processing of cargo, faster vessel turnaround and more timely information for importers and exporters, the report says these efficiency gains may even translate into better trade facilitation and lower costs of international trade.
Port will have following basic measures in place prior to commissioning;
- Boundary wall as per ISPS Code around the port premises on the land.
- Strict entry with permits only.
- Certification and granting of certificate by D. G. Shipping.
- Yearly ISPS Code audit.
- Seaward and water front patrolling by patrol boats.
Electronic Security Surveillance
The entire infrastructure in port will be ISPS compliant, the port boundary will be protected by a boundary wall as per the code specifications. The entire area will be adequately illuminated. A physical separation will be made of the two areas of Cargo Terminal and Ship Repair facility by putting a wall/ fence combination. There will be a designated Port Security and Fire Officer (PSFO) in-charge of the compliance. A control station for the port facility with Radar Surveillance of the water front is also required according to the code. The Radar range of 40 nautical mile capable of identification of targets position and speed is to be provided. All the important locations with the port area will be equipped with non-marine communication equipment such as wireless sets, VHF units.
The employees and workforce entering the port premises will be issued the identity cards/ passes with different colour codes indicating their area of operation and the nature of permission. This will be inspected at the main gate.
ISPS YES BUT AT WHAT PRICE?
Ports across the nation might have to share part of the financial burden that implementation of the new ISPS code has been placed on the Major Ports.
Major Ports are considering the option to impose a new surcharge, Security Cess, on their users to recover part of the costs incurred on implementation of the code. According to the Nautical Adviser to the government, the 12 Major Ports have invested about Rs.150 crore to implement the ISPS code. Apart from this, an annual expenditure will be incurred to operate new facilities like water scanners and container scanners, which approximately cost Rs. 2 crore each, security cameras and explosion detection facilities as per the ISPS guidelines. The cost of implementation of the security code varies from port to port. For example, in the case of JNPT, the cost is estimated to be about Rs.15 crore. For ships also, the implementation cost will depend on the risk a ship carries and the route that the vessel is plying. As per the estimates worked out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an initial cost on about 40,000 ships plying different routes will be about $ 1,279 million.
The global shipping community will have to foot a bill of more than $ 1.5 billion annually – on top of a $2.6 billion initial cost – as a result of implementing the new ISPS code, according to recent report. But the costs of security – driven modernization could easily be offset by gains in global supply chain efficiency and a reduction in maritime theft and fraud estimated at $ 50 billion a year. The cost compliance is the cost of doing business in an environment with heightened terrorist risk.
These estimates do not include a slew of other security – inspired measures implemented, mainly by the US, since September 11th, 2001. Procedural changes like the 24 – hour advance notice rule, for instance, are estimated to have cost carriers $ 282 million in 2003.
Aside from reducing exposure to terrorism, technology – based security measures are likely to increase the efficiency of cargo handling, cargo movement tracking and people movement. Citing the case of standardized electronic manifests which save time and reduce costs through quicker processing of cargo, faster vessel turnaround and more timely information for importers and exporters, the report says these efficiency gains may even translate into better trade facilitation and lower costs of international trade.
A study of how improved trade facilitation would increase trade among 75 sample countries pointed to an increase in trade of 9.7 percent or approximately $ 377 billion. Improved customs regimes would increase trade by 0.8 percent or $ 107 billion, while an improved regulatory environment would increase trade by 2.1 percent or $ 83 billion. Enhanced e-commerce in business would increase trade by nearly 4 percent or $ 154 billion.