Due to the terrorist acts of 11 September 2001, maritime security the world over has changed, requiring global cooperation and cohesion.
Security is essential in seaports where there is an international exchange of passengers and goods. World trade is dependent on maritime transport, and Australia’s maritime sector is integral to the nation’s economic well being, bringing over $180 billion annually into the economy.
Protecting the maritime industry from the threat of terrorism is a major international and national priority.
The international community resolved to implement a system to secure the maritime transport sector against the threat of terrorism. The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, developed through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) by December 2002, was the result.
In turn the Australian Government developed the Maritime Transport & Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 to implement the ISPS Code in Australia. Both the ISPS Code and the Act came into effect on 1 July 2004.
This legislation recognises the importance of detecting and deterring any unauthorised activity within security regulated ports, safeguarding against unlawful interference with maritime transport, and requires that port operators and ships undertake risk assessments and implement Maritime Security Plans to address identified risks.
These plans outline the measures and procedures that port operators, port facility managers, and ships undertake to protect vessels that trade in Australian seaports.