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Guidance for Shipowners, Ship Operators and Masters on the Protection of Ships from Terrorism and Sabotage

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2001
30 pages
This document provides guidance to operators and managers of ships and ships’ masters in dealing with security threats to vessels, passengers, and crew.
Threats from terrorism and sabotage are part of the risks faced by the shipping industry. It is essential that security measures are maintained at a level commensurate with the threat. The primary objective is safeguarding the crew, passengers, visitors, other employees, ships, and cargoes from the activities of terrorist or other organizations. It is recommended that ship operators appoint an officer to be responsible for the security of each individual vessel. The officer’s responsibilities include advising the master on the threat assessment for the voyage and agreeing on the ship’s response; detailed contingency planning; encouraging security awareness and vigilance on board the ship; and reporting all occurrences and suspected occurrences of unlawful acts. Companies and masters should establish a threat level indicator and incremental measures to be taken at each of the threat levels should be laid down. Level 1 measures include controlled access on and off the vessel; limited access to sensitive areas; locked unused rooms or spaces; and contacting port security at each port of call. Level 2 measures include closer scrutiny paid to deliveries of stores; occasional bomb searches carried out at random intervals; close liaison with onshore security authorities; and access of all visitors strictly controlled. Level 3 measures include regular and thorough bomb searches conducted; all spaces, including off-duty crew lockers and storage locations, searched; and intensified patrols of the vessel, especially on deck. If a vessel is hijacked, the master should keep calm and advise all others to keep calm; broadcast a distress message if possible; and encourage the establishment of a secure, direct negotiation channel with all authorities. In the event or in anticipation of military action personnel should not attract attention to any unusual activity and if shooting is heard or the loud command “get down,” it should be obeyed. Search plans should be prepared in advance and should be practiced from time to time to build confidence on the part of the crew. Annexes