The multi-dimensional nature of international shipping has resulted in Maritime Security being considered as a very broad concept that seeks to address a spectrum of security issues within the maritime industry such as piracy, smuggling, stowaways and illegal immigration, safeguarding ships against unlawful acts against safe navigation, terrorism, cyber threats and environmental disasters.
Antigua and Barbuda fully supports all the IMO Maritime Security initiatives such as the amendments to the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which includes a new chapter XI-2 “Special measures to enhance maritime security”. The maritime security measures are designed to protect ships, port facilities, offshore platforms, and seafarers, and are expected to yield the desired outcomes of:
- Reduced risk of travel or trade disruptions in response to security threats.
- Improved security against theft and diversion of cargo, with reductions in direct losses and indirect costs.
- Improved security against illegal transport of passengers and goods such as counterfeits, narcotics, weapons, and of persons.
- Security against the illegal trade in endangered species and cultural heritage artifacts.
- Confidence in the information systems supporting the complex transactions and highly technical operations within the maritime industry.
- Increased confidence in the international trading system by current and potential shippers of goods.
Without sound maritime security, global trade and the world’s economies would be at risk for significant disruptions as the shipping industry would not be able to optimize all its operational systems.
The International Ship and Port Facility Safety (ISPS) Code is a set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities that were developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities after the 9/11 attacks. The Code is part of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) and compliance is mandatory for all Contracting Parties to SOLAS.
The Administration provides information and guidance to the owners, operators, Company Security Officers and Masters of Antigua and Barbuda flagged ships, engaged on international voyages, concerning the application of the ISPS.
All of the Classification Societies that are recognised by Antigua and Barbuda are authorised as RSOs and can conduct audits for the issuance of International Ship Security Certificates and approve Ship Security Plans on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda.
The requirements for Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) came into force on 1st January 2008. The requirements are contained in the amendments to SOLAS Chapter V and create a requirement for ships to be fitted with equipment capable of automatically transmitting the ship’s identity, position, date and time every six hours.
LRIT certificates are issued by ADOMS St. John’s on receipt of a valid conformance test report from the testing Application Service Provider. The authorised testing Application Service Providers for Antigua and Barbuda ships are listed in this link.
As soon as a valid conformance test report is received by ADOMS St. John’s, the data for the LRIT certificate can be generated and used to produce an LRIT Certificate at the St. John’s office or transmitted electronically to the Oldenburg office for immediate issue.
The continued threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea against ships and their crew navigating in the Somali Basin, the Gulf of Aden, the Wider Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea remains of serious concern to this flag State Administration.
The Administration fully endorses the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) efforts to counteract this threat, and the guidance it has provided to contracting Governments, shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters on counter piracy efforts.
It is the policy of ADOMS to permit the carriage of armed security teams on board Antigua and Barbuda ships operating in areas where the owners and managers feel that this measure is essential for the safety and security of the ship’s crews.
Currently, owners wishing to engage armed teams need to advise ADOMS St. John’s and provide a copy of the contract plus a letter of indemnity for the administration. ADOMS will by return, provide an official letter confirming the flag state’s agreement to the team, which is sufficient for the purposes of most coastal states.
For ships that may call at an Indian port with an armed team on board, it is necessary to have an additional step which is to provide a list of the team members and the weapons carried. This list can be validated by ADOMS St. John’s and attached to the official letter confirming agreement.
The IMO has agreed to an international ISO standard for companies providing armed security teams (Standard PAS.280007). It is expected that most reputable companies supplying teams will seek accreditation to this standard.
Although the issue of stowaways is dealt with by the IMO within the construct of the Facilitation of Maritime Traffic (FAL), the Administration is mindful of the security dimension of this activity and therefore fully endorses the IMO Guidelines on the prevention of stowaway incidents and the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases.
In the guidelines, masters, shipowners, public authorities, port authorities and other stakeholders, including those providing security services ashore, have a responsibility to cooperate to the fullest extent possible in order to prevent stowaway incidents; and to resolve stowaway cases expeditiously and ensure that an early return or repatriation of the stowaway will take place. All appropriate measures should be taken in order to avoid situations where stowaways must stay on board ships indefinitely.