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Gard Guidance Masters SECURITY

Security has always been of international concern but has taken on a new dimension since the terrorist attacks in New York on 11th September 2001. However, vessels have always been exposed to intruders, whether that be pirates or politically motivated attackers. Stowaways are a major worry and a genuine threat to the security of the vessel and her crew. On 1st July 2004, the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code came into force requiring every Company to have a Company Security Officer (CSO) and the vessel to have a Ship Security Officer (SSO) in charge of the vessel’s security as laid down in an approved and successfully implemented Ship Security Plan (SSP).

Non-compliance with, or a sloppy attitude towards the SSP will undoubtedly affect not only the personal integrity of the crew and the structural and organisational integrity of the vessel, but will also create difficulties in ports of call where port facility operators are applying the internationally mandatory ISPS Code in the strictest sense of the meaning. The vessel may not even be allowed to enter the territorial waters or the ports themselves due to lack of compliance with the SSP. As a result of such non-compliance, the Company may suffer financially and/or be exposed to liabilities, costs and expenses. These may be substantial, for example, if cargo cannot be loaded or discharged or passengers disembarked or embarked.