Focus on port and ship security


IN an effort to ensure that the country remains compliant with international security standards for ports and shipping facilities, the Ministry of Transport and Local Government yesterday hosted its first International Ship and Port Facility Security Seminar.

The two-day seminar, which began yesterday at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre, addressed safety practices and ISPS policies designed at enhancing the security of ships and port facilities.

Speaking at yesterday’s seminar, District Superintendent at the Ministry of Transport Dorothy Anderson noted that the objective of the conference was to close the gap between security organisations, port security officers and the ISPS compliance unit.

“. . .As you may be aware, the international ship and port facilities security code is an amendment to the safety of life at sea convention. The code provides minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies.

“…The Bahamas government remains fully committed to ensuring that all port facilities throughout the Commonwealth of the Bahamas remain ISPS compliant and understands essential benefits to the Bahamas of doing so.”

In October, the Ministry of Transport and Local Government launched the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Compliance Unit to provide oversight of the international port and ship facilities throughout The Bahamas.

The unit, which is led by Senior Lieutenant Bertram Bowleg of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), is responsible for conducting periodic audits and inspections at shipping facilities in the country.

“Further responsibilities of the unit include the detection of security threats and the development of security measure to mitigate such threats,” Mrs Anderson noted yesterday.

“(It also includes) the establishment of roles and responsibilities concerning maritime security for governments local administration and ship port industries at the national and international levels.”

“Accordingly, I urge all ISPS compliance facilities to work cohesively with the ISPS compliance unit since it is important to understand that each of your facilities, although different in operations, provide substantial economic benefits to the Bahamian people.”