The use of SOLAS ship security alert systems
Date of Issue2008
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
The requirement for all merchant ships plying international trading routes to be equipped with Ship Security Alert Systems stemmed from the many initiatives to protect the world from terrorist threats that were developed in the aftermath of the 911 attacks in the United States in 2001. As government moved forward to develop global requirements at the International Maritime Organization, seafarers remained skeptical as to whether the measures would serve to protect them or, to the contrary, endanger their safety. Such skepticism appears to have subsequently abated as seafarers have begun to use the Ship Security Alert Systems when under attack by pirates and armed robbers. The responses of shore-side entities to the alerts are varied. Today, the flag states responsible for the safe operation of the ships within their registries may establish their own response plans and arrangements. For many, cooperation with other nations is not only advantageous but crucial as few Flag States have the necessary resources to protect the ships flying their flags in all parts of the world. There are, however, many opportunities that exist to link national, regional and even commercial arrangements designed to protect merchant shipping, which in turn could lead to the establishment of an international mechanism for coordinating timely and effective responses to ship security alerts. Furthermore, solutions may be found in enabling ship security alert systems to contact the responders directly, as this has been done effectively with regard to piracy attacks.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science
RSIS Working Papers ; 154/08