Leading private maritime anti-crime and security service providers have joined forces to help governments and the maritime industry cope with ever tighter security requirements to meet the post 9/11 terrorism threat.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce, and the Security Solutions International Group (SSI) have formed a joint venture combining their maritime and risk management expertise.

IMB director Pottengal Mukundan says: “Everybody connected with shipping is under enormous pressure these days as governments, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other authorities impose ever tighter security requirements for cargoes, shipping and ports. There is an urgent need for expert advice and our two organisations can provide it.”

An early task for the new group will be assisting ports and shipping organisations to comply by a July 2004 deadline with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, (ISPS), introduced by the IMO last December.

This is just one of a welter of new requirements facing the shipping industry, among them the

  • US ‘s 24-hour rule requiring advance manifest information to be delivered to US authorities before a cargo is loaded on ships bound for American ports.


Others are the US Customs Container Initiative, designed to protect containerised shipping from terrorists, and recent amendments stiffening of the Safety of Life at Sea Agreement (Solas), which covers everything from fire precautions to life saving appliances and the stowing of dangerous goods.

A further vital issue for the shipping industry is adjusting to changed security perceptions worldwide after 9/11. Mukundan adds: “The essential nature of the threat has changed. Risk and potential targets used to be assessed on the basis of the intrinsic value of cargoes and the ships carrying them. That no longer applies.

“The main focus now has to be the strategic intentions of terrorist groups. Those responsible for security of ports and ships have to put themselves in the minds of terrorists and ask: ‘How attractive a target do we present in terms of terrorist objectives

  • ‘”


”The IMB-SSI infrastructure, its network of security partners and close association with Interpol and with law enforcement and customs agencies worldwide, will enable it to respond promptly and effectively, meeting the most exacting client requirements”, Mukundan says.

John Saunders, former chief inspector with the Port of London Police now with the IMB, and Bob Weir, a former Canadian intelligence service officer, have been appointed as senior consultants to the IMB-SSI alliance.

The IMB has 20 years of experience in helping maritime organisations counter crime and has saved companies billions of dollars in potential fraud and theft. The IMB runs the Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur, which provides the most comprehensive information on the vulnerability of vessels to armed attack around the world. The IMB focuses on general criminal activity, piracy and shipping frauds, while also offering security consulting tailored to clients’ specific needs. Most IMB services are geared towards the prevention of losses from crime.

The SSI Group is an international risk management and loss prevention organisation with over 25 years’ experience. SSI’s major clients include the US State Department, the United Nations, various diplomatic missions and international maritime, oil and gas, mining and industrial groups.