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IMO security initiatives for seaports

The initiatives discussed at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have been suggested as a means to reduce the risk of terrorists using merchant ships as a means to spread terrorist activity.

According to the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), such initiatives will serve to protect ships from being used for terrorist activity and other crimes. Historically, the burden of implementing preventative measures aimed at suppressing drug smuggling, piracy and armed robbery against ships, including stowaway boardings, has predominately been placed on ships crews, but the proposals studied by the Intersessional Working Group will, if implemented, also compel ports to review their security arrangements. The IMO's Intersessional Working Group on Maritime Security took place from 11 to 15 February 2002 at the IMO's Headquarters in London, United Kingdom. BIMCO actively represented its members at the working group and two sub-groups that looked at security guidance for ports and ships as well as possible amendments to the Advice on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention addressing security.

BIMCO has historically endorsed and actively promoted improved security measures on ships by encouraging its members to:

1. participate in anti-drug smuggling agreements which include commitments to improve security arrangements on board ships and the exchange of information between ship owners and customs administrations, and

2. place the BIMCO ShipMaster's Security Manual and the BIMCO Vessel CD-Rom on board ships as training and reference tools that include IMO guidelines for the prevention of drug smuggling, piracy and armed robbery against ships and stowaway boardings.

BIMCO fully supports the IMO's present efforts aimed at enhancing security in a maritime environment and will continue to actively participate in and promote these efforts.