In a Shipping Industry driven by standards and compliance, the private maritime security sector has rightly been taken to task on the quality, legality and efficiency of its product. As newcomers to the supply chain, Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) started on shaky foundations, operating on the principle of ‘just enough and just in time’, with little regard for sharing exactly how they delivered their product. However, it has matured remarkably and with internationally recognized accreditation and self-regulation has brought the offering of maritime risk management services encapsulated by the International Organisation for Standards (ISO).
This has taken some time to materialise; however, given the encouragement and support provided by BIMCO in the development of ISO/PAS 28007 and raising awareness of the standard amongst its membership. Most within the Shipping Industry who use the services of PMSC’s should now be aware of the existence of the new ISO/PAS 28007 and the positive enabling effect it will have on the process of assessing and selecting a security provider. This has been further assisted by the efforts of the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) and the Security Association for Maritime Industry (SAMI) to communicate the value of this internationally recognised accreditation standard.
For Port2Port Maritime, as the first PMSC to undertake and complete the pilot process, the challenge we faced was to fully understand the requirement of the standard and apply it to our existing quality management system (QMS) processes. Like others within the sector who have undertaken innumerable MSC 1405/06 and 1443 based due diligence questionnaires, on site client audits, ISO 9001 and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) inspection, all have facilitated the opportunity to evolve and refine our processes as part of a continuous improvement philosophy. For the company, the requirement for ISO/PAS 28007 was one of review and refinement rather than reverse engineering and policy creation. Although considerable planning, resource allocation and time management must be intelligently applied to successfully complete the audit process, understanding the standard’s aims from the outset and working with what was already in place was key.
To us, the single most useful aspect of the process is to remind us to place the protection of the client (in terms of assets, reputation and personnel) at the centre of our risk assessment and planning. An ancillary benefit is also that we have undertaken a cathartic and hugely beneficial review of all of our policies and procedures, which in turn allows us to unequivocally evidence to our clients that we genuinely deliver what we purport to do. A thorough audit process conducted by an external, properly trained, experienced and regulated auditing body further assists them. If fully understood and embraced by the client community, ISO/PAS 28007 as a defined bench mark against which to assess the suitability of a PMSC will undoubtedly save time, money and effort whilst providing peace of mind. However, it is very important that the ISO/PAS is not diluted through subjective interpretation and arbitrary “in house” modification, which will ultimately undermine and duplicate what the standard is designed to assess and verify. Port2Port Maritime believes it prudent to make distinction between “vetting” which the ISO now delivers to a very high standard and “due diligence” which remains an essential on site metric for assessing the commercial aspects of any security provider beyond that covered by ISO/PAS 28007.
Until completion of the UKAS pilot accreditation programme later this year, no certification body can claim to be accredited and consequently it is not possible for any PMSC to be formally accredited until then. Instead a PMSC can claim only to have achieved certification to ISO 28000: ISO/PAS 28007 on successful completion of the audit process. As the leading company in the pilot audit programme, Port2Port Maritime has now successfully achieved certification to ISO28000: ISO/PAS 28007. The Shipping Industry should be confident in the standard and integrity of the audit process, which (for the first time) allows owners and charterers to objectively compare PMSCs for accountability and transparency, with the assurance of knowing what they’re getting, which should serve to make the appointment and use of PMSCs less onerous. <
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Andrew Varney is the Managing Director of Port 2 Port Maritime, based in the UK and Nigeria, with regional offices Ghana, Greece and Korea. www.port2portuk.com