Call for adherence to code

Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the Swedish classification society and risk management company, yesterday urged all parties in the shipping industry to scrupulously comply with a comprehensive security regime drawn up by the International Maritime Organization and scheduled to be implemented on July 1, 2004. Failure to follow the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code could see politicians hijack the process and «impose measures which will not necessarily lead to improved security,» said Tor E. Svensen, chief operating officer of DNV Maritime which is part of DNV. The shipping industry should not treat this as «another paper exercise» but should implement the rules «in accordance with the intentions of the code,» he stressed. The ISPS code contains detailed security-related requirements for governments, port authorities and shipping companies and guidelines on how to meet the rules. The enhanced maritime measures are aimed at preventing terrorism acts and piracy and protecting ports against such threats. More than 400 piracy cases are reported every year and the number is on the rise. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 ships in international trade, including all cargo ships over 500 gross tons and all passenger vessels in international trade as well as 15,000 to 20,000 ports will be affected by the code. The European Commission earlier this month extended the code to European passenger ships servicing domestic markets. «It is a change process for the industry to focus on security,» said Svensen, citing the benefits of increased security and improved quality in the sector. He said the principal challenge lies in uniform interpretation of the requirements.

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