Purpose and implementation of ISPS on board cargo ships


Chapter XI of SOLAS describes ISPS regulalations. ISPS code means International ship & port facilities security code, enforced in July 2004. There are two parts in it:

1) maritime safety & 2)maritime security

There are 19 chapters in ISPS

a. General
b. Definition
c. Application
d. Responsibilities of contacting government
e. Declaration of security
f. Obligation of company
g. Ship security
h. Ship security assessment
i. Ship security plan
j. Record
k. Company security officer
l. Ship security officer
m. Training, drill and exercise
n. Port facility security
o. Port facility security assessment
p. Port security plan
q. Port facility security officer
r. Training, drill and exercise at port
s. Verification and certification for ships

2) International connection to detect security threats.
3) Provide adequate guideline against breach of security

There are three levels in ISPS:

LEVEL-1 :Background level of threat that is normal operating condition .Maintaining minimum appropriate protective security measure at all time.

LEVEL-2 :Heightened threat but no defined target. Maintain additional protective security measure for period of time.

LEVEL-3 :High level of threat against a specific target. Further high level of security measure maintained for a limited period of time.


Level -1

1) Adequate deck & over side lighting.
2) Crew member should be issued photo identification.
3) Access on & off the vessel should be control & all person identify.
4) Access to certain area of the vessel to be limited with key control.
5) Unused room or space should be kept locked.
6) Periodic inspection/patrol should be made a regular interval.

Level -2

In addition to level -1

1) Occasional search should be made at random interval.
2) Access of all visitors to the vessel should strictly control.
3) Close security to be paid on deliveries and stores.
4) Baggage should not be unattended.
5) Check should make on seal on container & other cargo.
6) No person other than crew member should be allowed on bridge or E/R.
7) Maintain close liaison with shore concerned.
8) All crew members should be reminded of bomb alert security of the vessel.

In addition to level 1 & 2 :
1) Limiting access to a single & controlled access.
2) Granting access only to those responding to the security incident.
3) Carry out full or partial search of the ship.
4) Suspending cargo handling operation.
5) Tighten security patrol of the vessel.
6) Crew member should be briefed on seriousness of the situation.


1) Navigation room
2) Radio room
3) Engine room
4) Steering room
5) Emergency generator area
6) Bow thruster
7) Fire control room
8) Crew accommodation area
9) Ventilation, air conditioning equipment room,
10) Similar key area which is essential to safe operation of ship.

SSO means Ship Security Officer (person accountable to master, designated by company.

CSO means Company Security Officer.

PFSO means Port Facility Security 0fficer.

SSP means Ship Security Plan.

MAR SEC means Maritime Security.

Related article

Piracy and armed robbery - preventive measures by cargo ship

International safety management code for todays merchant ships

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