ISPS code and port security

ISPS code
Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States and the attack on the vessel 'Limbourg' in 2002, the vulnerability of the maritime sector has become a major point of concern. In response to this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed the 'International Ship and Port Facility Security Code' (ISPS code) in December 2002.

The ISPS code is an international standard that imposes measures for the on-board security of seagoing vessels and also for the quayside locations where these vessels arrive (the so-called 'ship/shore interface'). This code is aimed at promoting close cooperation between local, national and international institutions in order to enhance the security of maritime facilities.

Within the European Union, the ISPS code has been transposed into European Regulation 725/2004, which has been binding for all EU Member States since 1 July 2004.

Belgium laid down this European legislation in the Maritime Security Law (5 February 2007) and in the Royal Decree on Maritime Security (21 April 2007). These laws designate, among other things, the authorities that play a role in maritime security:

  • At the federal level: the National Authority for Maritime Security (NAMB)
  • At the local level (per port): the Local Committee for Maritime Security (LCMBG)

The LCMBG for the port of Ghent is composed of members from:

  • North Sea Port: port commander (chair) and port authority representative
  • Customs and Excise
  • Maritime Police (SPN)
  • State Security Service
  • Local police, representative for each police district
  • Railway infrastructure manager (Infrabel)
  • Ghent Fire Brigade

All companies at which large seagoing vessels moor are obliged to comply with the ISPS code and are designated as 'Port Facilities' (PF). These PFs are classified according to their degree of susceptibility to security incidents:

  • Susceptible terminals: container terminals, ro/ro terminals, petrochemical, chemical, gas storage, ferry services.
  • Non-susceptible terminals: terminals that handle dry or wet bulk and/or piece-goods.
  • Other terminals: cruise terminals.

A summary of the measures to be taken has been presented in the attachments below.

Port security
Following the introduction of the ISPS code and the European regulation, European Directive 2005/65/EC on enhancing port security was enacted in 2005. This directive is aimed at the implementation of appropriate security measures for the entire port area.

The directive stipulates that a risk analysis of the port area must be made on the basis of threat scenarios involving terrorism in seaports. An inventory of the high-risk objects in the port area, such as pipelines, bridges and Seveso companies, was drawn up for this purpose.

Finally, a port security plan has been drafted that contains the preventive and corrective measures that - based on the security level in force - are to be implemented. In order to take a pragmatic approach within the Ghent port area, 10 individual zones have been distinguished and the principle of dynamic zoning is being employed for the purpose of risk management.