Most rules and regulations implemented in the maritime industry have been initiated by some kind of disaster or accident. In the wake of the “Titanic” disaster where it was revealed that there were not enough lifeboats to cover all on board, the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations were introduced.
The MARPOL (Marine Pollution) contention came as a consequence of the grounding to the tanker “Torrey Canyon” outside Cornwall in England in March 1967.
However, the introduction and implementation of the ISPS code was not a result of a maritime incident but came as a result of the September 11th terror act in 2001.
Assessments made after the terror act revealed the need for improved security in ports and on board ships. Rules and regulations to reduce the possibility of terrorists being able to use ships and ports as targets for terror were established and the start of the ISPS code. The code came into force in 2004 as an amendment to the SOLAS 1974/1988 convention.
The main purpose of the ISPS code is:
- Provide for the detection of security threats and implement security measures
- To establish roles and responsibilities concerning maritime security for governments, local administrations, ship and port industries at the national and international level
- To collate and promulgate security-related information
- To provide a methodology for security assessments so as to have in place plans and procedures to react to changing security levels