ISPS: Benefits and Burdens
ISPS: Operational Benefits, Administrative Burdens
Op-Ed by Herbert Anyiam
Every initiative has positive and negative sides. This applies equally to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Whilst it may be true that the ISPS Code introduced a new burden by way of the volume of paperwork it generates, its benefits outweigh the burdens. The reasons for this are as follows:
Violence against vessels will remain so long as maritime transport exists. Apart from piracy and armed robbery, we now have the threat of maritime terrorism, which poses real danger to the industry. Some of the world’s major sea lanes pass through narrow waterways, such as the Straits of Malacca and Gibraltar as well as the Panama Canal and Suez Canal, any of which could be an ideal target for terrorist attack on ships.
We cannot think of all the potential targets for maritime terrorists. A good example is the hijacking of the Italian flagged cruise ship, Achille Lauro, by four terrorists who were members of the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) on 7th October 1985 in Egyptian territorial waters near the seaport port of Alexandria, which had about 800 passengers on board, excluding the crew. The PLF terrorists had demanded the release of fifty Palestinians held in Israeli prisons as the reason for their action, killed a disabled passenger in a wheelchair and threw his body overboard in the course of the stalemate.
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