security legislation - NI HKG

logo HK branch
HK flag
Go to content

security legislation

archive > archive presentations

The impact of the latest security legislation on maritime trade'

A presentation to the Hong Kong branch of the Nautical Institute
Mr. Kim E. Petersen, CEO of SeaSecure LLC.

           Those unable to attend at the RHKYC on 19th March missed a most comprehensive presentation on the impact that the latest security legislation will have on maritime trade, given by one of the foremost experts in the field.

           Ex-Branch Chairman Eric Edmondson introduced Kim E Petersen, who has over 25 years of experience in domestic and international security and anti-terrorism activities. Kim is Executive Director of the Maritime Security Council, an international body representing the interests of over 65% of the world’s ocean carriers. Kim is also CEO of SeaSecure LLC, a leading maritime security consulting company in the U.S.A., whose clients include some of the world's largest seaports and most of the major cruise lines. He is a former Captain in the U.S. Army's Special Forces and former federal law enforcement agent, whose career has included senior staff positions with Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig.

           Following his work in law enforcement and special operations, Kim began directing international security and anti-terrorism activities for Princess Cruises. While with Princess he visited over 50 ports as part of an industry-first Port Vulnerability Assessment program. In 1999, he was asked by Renaissance Cruises to create an industry-leading global vessel and port security program. He is a maritime security advisor to the U.S. State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council and to INTERPOL, an associate instructor at the US Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's (FLETC) Ship & Seaport Anti-terrorism Program, and a Visiting Professor at the UN's World Maritime University in Malmø, Sweden.

           Kim began by giving a brief review of acts of maritime terrorism over the past fifty years - the first of which being the assault on the Portuguese passenger liner "Santa Maria" by opponents of the Iberian fascist regimes of Salazar and Franco in January 1961. This introduced the practice of hijacking ships.

           More recent was the hijacking of the cruise ship "Achille Lauro" by members of the PLF in October 1985. The group disguised as passengers had intended to use the ship to infiltrate Israel with arms, after numerous other methods (including the use of hang gliders) had proven
           unsuccessful. They were discovered cleaning weapons in their cabin and decided their only viable course of action was to hijack the ship. After three days, and the murder of one disabled American tourist, they negotiated with the Egyptian authorities for their freedom in exchange
           for the release of hostages. Later, U.S. Navy jets intercepted the aircraft carrying the gunmen and forced it to land in Italy, where they were tried and sentenced to prison terms that saw all of those convicted released inside of ten years.

           More recent actions in Yemen against the USS Cole in October 2000 and French oil tanker "Limburg" in October 2002 have shown how vulnerable ships are to modern terrorists. In both these events, the target was rammed by a small boat loaded with explosives.

           After the events of 9/11, the U.S. government was quick to identify that poor security made ports and merchant ships a weak point, and one that terrorists could be exploiting to deliver weapons into the U.S.A. Discussions between representatives of the IMO, the US Congress, the US DOT, the USCG, and the shipping industry, rapidly developed new legislation aimed at closing security loopholes.

           Advance Manifest Regulation now requires that shippers and ocean carriers provide U.S. Customs with manifest information for ocean-going containerised cargo 24 hours in advance of loading on board a vessel for shipment to the U.S.

           The Container Security Initiative is the U.S. Customs Service’s program to prevent container shipping from being exploited by terrorists. U.S. Customs has entered into partnerships with other governments to identify "high-risk" cargo containers and pre-screen those containers for
           terrorist weapons, at the port of departure instead of the port of arrival. Getting the manifest information on the containers in advance of their loading is essential to this process, because it provides the risk targeting data needed to identify containers worthy of physical examination. Ten countries, representing 17 of the top 20 ports that ship to the United States, and including Hong Kong, have agreed to and are implementing CSI.

           Another U.S. Customs Service program is C-TPAT, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. This is a voluntary program in which individual shipping companies develop and implement a sound plan to enhance security procedures.

           Of most interest to our members, the ISPS Code is an extension of SOLAS legislation that will come into force on 1st July 2004. The objective of the Code is for shipping companies and port facilities to detect security threats, and take preventative measures against security incidents. Security levels will be assessed and set by each port facility and by each ship.

           The Code requires that shipping companies appoint Company Security Officers, carry out security assessments and develop Ship Security Plans for all their ships, appoint Ship Security Officers, and supply their ships with security equipment, including a silent alarm system.
           Conformity to these plans will be audited in the same manner as that of the ISM code.

           The Ship Security Plan will indicate the operational and physical security measures the ship must take to ensure it always operates at security level 1. The plan will indicate the additional, or intensified, security measures to be taken to move to and operate at the higher security levels 2 (heightened risk) & 3 (incident probable and imminent). When a port and visiting ship have determined different threat levels the entity at the lower level must increase their security
           measures to the level being operated by the other. Normally, this will mean that a ship calling at a port where the perceived threat level is higher must increase its precautions. Occasionally, where a threat may have been issued against a particular country's or operator's ships, the
           port will have to increase its security measures.

           Kim recommended a prioritised approach to implementing the Code, as there is little time remaining before it comes into force. The sequence in which tasks need to be accomplished is:

           1) select the Company Security Officer
           2) perform the Ship Security Assessments
           3) develop the Ship Security Plans
           4) select the Ship Security Officers
           5) establish security training programs for all ship crews
           6) obtain the required security equipment

           Kim mentioned some of the Internet sources of threat intelligence shown below:

           Maritime Security Council
           Overseas Security Advisory Council
           Maritime Administration
           US Office of Naval Intelligence - Worldwide Threat to Shipping
           US Office of Naval Intelligence – Anti-ship Activity Message Database
           International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Crime Services
           (International Maritime Bureau)
           NATO Shipping Centre (advisories of threats in the Arabian Gulf,
           Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf)

           Time available for the normal question and answer session was restricted and only a few questions could be posed. Asked whether he thought that ships should be supplied with firearms,
           Kim disagreed. One committee member discussed the risks involved in having a gun in the care of the Master, as used to be the case in days gone by. Another member present asked whether he believed that acts of terrorism would increase after the invasion of Iraq. Kim remarked that there is intelligence that indicates the readiness of terrorist cells to target merchant shipping following hostilities there. Asked what a Ship Security Officer can do when faced with an uncooperative Port Facility Security Officer, Kim said you can only do your best and report any non-compliance with the Code by a port to your company, who should forward the information to your flag state authority. He believed it was the intention of U.S. officials not only to audit their own ports but also to visit foreign ports to check the local authorities implementation of their own procedures.

           A "white list" of ports in compliance with the code will be drawn up by the IMO and ships arriving from an unlisted port, or even those having visited an unlisted port in the recent past, could expect lengthy inspections, if not outright refusals of entry.

           One attendee said that the Code appeared to have been developed and introduced without consultation with ship operators, but Kim stated that there had been extensive co-operation with IMO and several shipping industry NGOs, such as the ICCL.

           One shipping manager asked who will pay when either the port or ship is obliged to increase their security level to come into line with that of the other. Kim thought that in both instances the shipping company would end up footing the bill.

           After the meeting a small number of members and guests took dinner with the speaker at the Yacht Club, organised with the help of Mr. Louis Ko, Vice-Chairman of Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, Hong Kong branch.


Postal Address:

The Nautical Institute Hong Kong Branch
c/o StormGeo Ltd.
3603 Wu Chung House
213 Queen's Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong - S.A.R  P.R. China
Copyright ©2000 - 2023 The Nautical Institute Hong Kong Branch
10 April 2024
Back to content