The ISPS (International Ship and Port Facilities Security), or International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, is a protocol adopted by the International Maritime Organization, IMO, in 2004 to establish a common framework for cooperation and security to detect threats and take action to prevent them.

The main objectives of the ISPS Code are:

  • To establish an international framework that channels cooperation between governments, government agencies, local administrations and the shipping industry to detect security threats and take action against any event that may affect the security of the ship or port facilities.
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of governments, shipping companies or port institutions involved in any maritime traffic operation.
  • Ensure that there is continuous, effective and fluid information relating to the safety of ships and facilities.
  • Provide a methodology for assessing the situation in order to have plans and procedures in place to react to changes in the different levels of security stipulated in the ISPS.

In Stock Logistic, as specialists in transporting goods anywhere, we work with the main shipping companies in the world, which, in turn, are governed by the ISPS code in all their operations and journeys.

Three levels

The Code applies to ships on international voyages of at least 500 GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage), mobile offshore drilling units and port facilities serving such ships. It is an international protocol that is structured in two parts: the mandatory requirements and the guidelines.

The ISPS Code establishes three security levels:

  • Level 1 (Standard): This is the level at which ships and port facilities normally operate.
  • Level 2 (Enhanced): This shall be applied if there is an increase in risk.
  • Level 3 (Exceptional): This is set for the period of time when a security incident is probable or imminent.

Why was it created?

The increase in international maritime traffic, together with such important events as the attacks of 9/11 in 2001, led to the beginning of talk about the real risk of threats that could affect maritime trade. A global response was needed, based on international cooperation and involving all the players in the major supply chains.

In this context, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) launched the ISPS, whose immediate further development in Europe resulted in the entry into force in July 2004 of Regulation (EC) No. 725/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on enhancing ship and port facility security.

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