SAMI, SCEG, ICoC, IMO 1405, ISO..what does (should?) it all mean?

A common thread running through last week was the accreditation (read ‘control’?) of Maritime Security companies. SAMI presented to the IMO on the Monday, the ICoC held a ‘discussion group’ at the FCO on Wednesday and new guidelines emerged from the IMO MSC on Thursday.

So where are we?

Someone said to me at a function on the Thursday evening on finding out that I worked for a Maritime Security company ‘I want you lot controlled!’. And that may be the case. We in the industry (or most of us at least) would like to see standards rise and would welcome some form of standard/accreditation.

But to make it manageable we need one, accepted, implemented, demonstrable standard. Is this possible?

It would seem at present as if ISO28007 has won the day and this will be available from some time around November 2012 onwards. We in the industry will wait for it with bated breath. But we do need to consider how such a standard could/should be implemented and monitored.

Although there will be the process of gaining ISO28007 accreditation and that will involve an independent auditing function it will be down to the shipping companies making the decisions on the use of armed guards that will make it a success or not.

If all shipping companies agree that ISO28007 should be the standard then it will be down to them to only allow armed guards on their vessels that are supplied by companies that are suitably qualified. If, as happens on many occasions at present, the prime driver is the ‘cheapest option’ then perhaps the ISO standard is destined not to succeed?

A ‘race to the bottom’ on contract rates is not compatible with accreditation and quality assurance, the costs have to be covered somewhere.

So, from our company’s point of you, bring on ISO28007, let’s take it out for a spin and run it down the road to accreditation. I only hope our customers will appreciate all of the work involved!

Alan Taylor,
Commercial Director,
Spirit Security Services Ltd

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