13 August 2003

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Sea Malta organises seminar on ISPS Code

"Although Sea Malta had managed to comply and attain the ISM Code of Practice two years ahead of the stated IMO deadline, we do not realistically believe that we will be able to beat the new deadline of 1 July 2004 as stated by the ISPS Code simply because of the sheer speed with which this Code has developed as a process. This concern is not only Sea Malta’s but is also one that is being voiced by most shipping organisations who will be faced with the challenging task of complying with the ISPS Code in a relatively very short time frame," commented Marlene Mizzi, Chairman of Sea Malta during her opening address to a half-day briefing seminar on the ISPS Code.
Acting within the parameters of its social responsibilities Sea Malta took the initiative to organize this seminar not only to serve as a platform for further dialogue but also to create an atmosphere of co-operation amongst all stakeholders involved in this task.
The Seminar to discuss the ISPS Code and its practical implementation, was held at Sea Malta Head Office in collaboration with the Malta Maritime Authority and Bureau Veritas. It was addressed by Nicholas Baldacchino, Malta CEO, Bureau Veritas and Brian Cranmer, Chief Safety and Security Manager, Malta Maritime Authority.
Speaking about the ISPS Code, Mrs Mizzi stated "the ISPS Code was a rapid response to the tragic outcome of the 11th September events in New York where many organisations and institutions suddenly became surprised the relative ease with which terrorist activity could take place in what otherwise were traditionally deemed as secure environments. Following these events, the maritime industry realised that lapses in its security measures could now well serve as an alternative gateway to terrorist and other illegal activity. In December 2001, an ISPS Code was finalised by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which was consequently approved by an IMO diplomatic conference. This effectively means that we have just under a year to adopt and apply this code within our systems."
Mrs Mizzi added "the implementation of this code signifies an ambitious project that will reap long-term benefits in the future. It calls for the active input and co-operation of multi-disciplinary teams hailing from all security authorities. These authorities, which include the Police, the Armed Forces and Customs amongst others, represent an integral interface between shipping companies and the waterfront industry. In this regard, as in the past, Sea Malta promises its full support and co-operation with all parties involved because we are morally bound to this code and have committed ourselves in order to meet the tight deadline ahead."
Sea Malta’s General Manager, Joseph Bugeja, who has conceived the idea of this seminar said that although Sea Malta would be on the compliance end when this code will be enforced it still felt the need to stimulate awareness both on the implementation aspects as well as on the rapidly approaching dead line.
The ISPS Code enables the detection and deterrence of security threats within an international framework, establishes roles and responsibilities, enables the collection and exchange of security information and provides a methodology for assessing security. The Code is currently in the "passive approval process" whereby, unless administrations representing 50 percent of the world’s tonnage object to it by 1 January 2004 it will automatically come into force.

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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