In the wake of an attempted terrorist attack on a vessel transiting the Suez Canal, and as evidence emerges of threats to vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) has stressed the need for shipping companies to urgently check that ship security plans are in place, are workable and fit for purpose.
All too often the maritime security focus on-board and in offices ashore has been on the threat posed by piracy, but as recent events have highlighted, the threat of terrorism is real and needs to be taken seriously
The current security problems facing shipping are spread over a wide area, and it is vital that there are processes in place to respond to credible threats, or to the requirements to increase security levels. Over the past month, some flag States have raised their International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code security levels owing to the threat of terror attacks in the Yemen.
Such heightened security demands can be difficult to implement on-board, and so it is important that checks are made to ensure the correct response can be initiated.
Peter Cook, CEO of SAMI, states, “With shipping seemingly an increasingly attractive target to terrorists it is imperative that all steps are taken to ensure that security measures can be implemented effectively”. According to Cook, one of the best ways to check the ability to respond is to hold a security drill or exercise, “Companies can very quickly identify problem areas by holding a training exercise based on any number of current security threats”.
There are a range of vital steps that shipowners are urged to take to safeguard their seafarers, cargoes and vessels. From a risk management perspective it is important they appreciate the threats posed in the areas they operate, then too it is vital that the management team on-board are able to communicate and respond effectively to implement the necessary measures to mitigate any risks posed