STE - Security of terminals

    BTE Beveiliging van terminals

    11 September 2001
    In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the World Trade Centre in New York, the shipping and the port sector had to face more and more stringent security regulations that try to secure the good flows to the United States. The United States Customs Service brought about two initiatives: the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Customs Trade Partnerships Against Terrorism (CTPAT).

    ISPS code and EU Regulation
    In addition to the initiatives of the US, the IMO approved in 2002 not only the amended SOLAS convention but also the ISPS code. ISPS stands for International Ship & Port facility Security. In the war against terrorism, a ship is considered to be a potential weapon and the port a location to be secured.

    The ISPS-code became EU law after being converted into a Regulation on enhancing ship and port facility security (STE-001). The Regulation went into force on 1 July 2004. A Regulation is binding and enters into force immediately in all Member States.  

    The goal of this conversion of international laws concerning maritime security in a Regulation is twofold: to guarantee a fast execution of these measures and to make sure that a harmonised implementation of the legislation in the whole community is assured. However, the proposed Regulation differs from the rules set out by the IMO. In the regulation, the security measures from the SOLAS convention as well as the ISPS code are extended to inland navigation and some elements that are not binding in part B of the ISPS-code are binding to the EU.

    The regulation is applicable on terminals in seaports for international and intra-European shipping traffic. Important elements are:

    • Division of tasks and authorities.
    • Implementation of risk analysis.
    • Introduction of security plans.
    • Approval of these plans.
    • Compliance control.
    • Reporting duties to the European Commission.

    Member States should check that ships from any country asking for permission to enter a port of the Union comply with the security regulation. Member States have to set up a maritime security authority, who should coordinate, implement and control the application of the security measures required by the regulation. When a ship announces its intention to call at a port, the authority office has to request beforehand information on its international security certificate and the level of safety at which it operates and has previously operated as well as any other relevant information.

    Security checks in the port have to be carried out by the competent maritime security authority of the Member State. The international security certificate should be inspected by inspectors from the port state control, as provided in Directive 95/21/EC of the Council of 19 June 1995 concerning enforcement of international standards for ship safety, pollution prevention and shipboard living and working conditions in Member States, for ships using Community ports and sailing in the waters under the jurisdiction of a Member State (port state control). If there is more than one competent authority, they should complement each other.  

    The text of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on enhancing the ship and port facility security was approved on 31 of March 2004 (STE-002).

    100% Scanning?
    On the basis of the US ‘September 11 Commission Recommendations Act’, all containers sailing to the US should be scanned by the customs office as from 2012. The European Commission investigated independently the impact of such a regulation. The results showed a steep increase in operational costs and a need for high investments. In view of these results, the Commission proposed a different approach for the EU by opting for a behaviour-code instead of the costly scanning of all containers, considering new future improvements in technology, improved risk management and more cooperation within the EU and worldwide (STE-003 and STE-004). The implementation of the US ‘100% scanning’ rule has meanwhile been postponed for two years and it is expected that further postponement may occur in the future.

    Some relevant documents:
    STE-004: Study on the impact of security measures on the EU economy and trade relations (European Commission)

    STE-003: European Commission Staff Working Paper. Secure Trade and 100% Scanning of Containers (European Commission)

    STE-002: Regulation (EC) No 725/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on enhancing ship and port facility security (European Parliament)

    STE-001: Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on enhancing maritime transport security (European Commission)