ISPS Code: US Coast Guard gives Philippines container ports pass mark

ISPS Code: US Coast Guard gives Philippines container ports pass mark

PHOTO CREDIT: Philstar

The United States Coast Guard has approved security protocols in three of the international container ports in the Philippines.  

The country’s Department of Transportation said the Subic Bay International Terminal, Davao International Container Terminal and the Manila International Container Terminal were found to have significantly improved in their compliance with the International Ships & Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) following a country assessment conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard last month.

The country assessment is conducted by the Coast Guard in all countries servicing US-flagged vessels engaged in international trade to facilitate sharing of port security best practices and development of mutual interests in securing ships coming in and out of the US.

According to the Philippines’ Department of Transportation, a U.S. Coast Guard visit typically includes port facility and vessel vulnerability assessment, security plan approval process leading to the issuance of an International Ship Security Certificate, and evaluation of security measures at a representative port or series of ports to verify compliance with the International Port Security Program.

The department said the U.S. Coast Guard highlighted in its latest assessment the exerted efforts of concerned parties in applying corrective measures on the observations reported on the three ports in 2015.

The Coast Guard team also pointed out areas that need further improvement in the said ports such as continuous monitoring of CCTVs, implementation of uniform security measures throughout the perimeter fence, and color coding or inclusion of expiry dates employees identification and security tags.

The USCG also urged the three ports to have a clear and direct communication link between the port facility security officer and ship’s security officer, subject cargo drivers to random body search or inspection, and improve security measures for cruise terminal operation, particularly in Subic.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade welcomed the positive security assessment given by the USCG, and promised to further improve security protocols in container terminals and seaports nationwide.

“We appreciate the USCG team for the visit and the assessment, as this will give us the baseline for our security standards as maritime trading partners. We value all efforts that will further enhance our interdependence leading to mutual prosperity,” Tugade said.

“Our strong partneship with the US Coast Guard bears proven positive results over the years. With this, we will continue to work hard to improve our security measures in our ports and carry on with this breakthrough. Rest assured, necessary steps will be taken for our ports to comply with the standards of the International Port Security Program,” he added.