Workshop on Maritime Security in the Pacific

International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the South Pacific Community, in collaboration with the Government of Vanuatu, held a Regional Maritime Security Workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu (22-25 July).

"Good maritime and port security is the enabler for maritime and economic development through maritime trade. It can be taken for granted when it works, but maintaining good security is essential," said the UN body.

The workshop coincided with IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim's visit to Vanuatu, Fiji and Australia - the first time an IMO Secretary General visited the South Pacific.

The regional workshop brought together Heads of Designated Authorities and port facility security officers (PFSOs) from 14 countries to discuss ways to cooperate at the national level to provide the necessary support required in order to take ownership of the implementation and compliance with the provisions of IMO's maritime security regime, including SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Several port operators are also attending.

The aim is for participants to improve their knowledge and to perform maritime security duties, as well as acquire the knowledge and skills to train others with similar responsibilities.

The first two days were aimed at providing PFSOs with essential knowledge, confidence and tools to be able to address nonconformities that are commonly identified during security audits and assessment. This includes carrying out of risk assessments, coordinating drills and exercises, and delivering security training.

The last two days brought together the Heads of Maritime Administrations and PFSOs to review implementation of maritime security instruments in the region, share best practices and experiences, promote cooperation between port and designated authorities, identify challenges and propose solutions for effective and coordinated implementation of maritime security at the national level.

The workshop included testing a verification manual  - a new tool for officials of the Designated Authorities under the ISPS Code.

Guest speakers from the US Coast Guard International Port Security Programme, as well as Australia's Maritime Safety Agency and Maritime New Zealand were also at the workshop.