Suva, Fiji: Increasing global awareness of the threat of terrorism means Pacific Island countries and territories must ensure they comply with the International Ship and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
‘The SPC Transport Programme has audited most ports in Pacific Island countries according to this international convention. To maintain compliance status is an on-going challenge,’ said Captain Hakaumotu Fakapelea, Regional Maritime Ports Security Adviser with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Transport Programme.
Captain Fakapelea said that the SPC auditing system was introduced to assist countries after the ISPS code came into force in 2004. The code is part of the amendments made to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and its member countries, to safeguard and protect ships and ports in the course of carrying out international trade.
‘International ports of entry must meet ISPS Code standards in order for countries to conduct international trade and participate in the cruise vessel industry,’ said Captain Fakapelea.
An ISPS audit is carried out every five years at ports of entry where governments are members of the IMO. The process includes an assessment of security and measures in place in the Port Facility Security Plan.
‘First, the visiting vessel must have on board a Ship Security Plan approved by the authority that registered the ship, and the port must have a port facility security plan, as approved by the Contracting Government,’ said Captain Fakapelea.
‘Before a vessel arrives, it sends its security pre-arrival information to the port, including the security status of the ten ports previously visited.’
Captain Fakapelea explained that the implementation of the two security plans is agreed between the ship’s security officer and the ports facility security officer, with each having clearly designated areas of responsibility.
‘Maintaining ISPS Code compliance is vital to international trading by Pacific Island countries and territories,’ said Captain Fakapelea.