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IMO ISPS Code Section 5 - Declaration of Security Mandatory Requirements and Guidance

isps declaration of security

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) mandated International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) is a supplement to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS). ISPS Code intends to provide an international framework for mandatory requirements regarding the provisions of Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS.

According to the SOLAS, the Declaration of Security (DoS) is an agreement reached between a ship and either a port facility or another ship with which it interfaces, specifying the security measures each will implement. In a nutshell, the declaration addresses the security requirements shared between port facilities and ships or between ships and states the responsibility for each.


Generally, the DoS is intended for use in exceptional cases and is usually related to higher risk and, the contracting government determines the requirement after a security assessment. It is also a method of documenting the appropriate implementation of the ISPS Code and related maritime security requirements.

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isps dos document

ISPS Code - Declaration of Security

ISPS Code Part A Section 5 - Declaration of Security

Mandatory Requirements for Declaration of Security




5. Declaration of Security

5.1 Contracting Governments shall determine when a Declaration of Security is required by assessing the risk the ship/port interface or ship to ship activity poses to persons, property or the environment.

5.2 A ship can request completion of a Declaration of Security when:

.1 the ship is operating at a higher security level than the port facility or another ship it is interfacing with;

.2 there is an agreement on a Declaration of Security between Contracting Governments covering certain international voyages or specific ships on those voyages;

.3 there has been a security threat or a security incident involving the ship or involving the port facility, as applicable;

.4 the ship is at a port which is not required to have and implement an approved port facility security plan; or

.5 the ship is conducting ship to ship activities with another ship not required to have and implement an approved ship security plan.

5.3 Requests for the completion of a Declaration of Security, under this section, shall be acknowledged by the applicable port facility or ship.

5.4 The Declaration of Security shall be completed by:

.1 the master or the ship security officer on behalf of the ship(s); and, if appropriate,

.2 the port facility security officer or, if the Contracting Government determines otherwise, by any other body responsible for shore-side security, on behalf of the port facility.

5.5 The Declaration of Security shall address the security requirements that could be shared between a port facility and a ship (or between ships) and shall state the responsibility for each.

5.6 Contracting Governments shall specify, bearing in mind the provisions of regulation XI-2/9.2.3, the minimum period for which Declarations of Security shall be kept by the port facilities located within their territory.

5.7 Administrations shall specify, bearing in mind the provisions of regulation XI-2/9.2.3, the minimum period for which Declarations of Security shall be kept by ships entitled to fly their flag.

ISPS Code Part B Section 5 - Declaration of Security

Guidance regarding declaration of security

5. Declaration of Security

 General

5.1 A Declaration of Security (DoS) should be completed when the Contracting Government of the port facility deems it to be necessary or when a ship deems it necessary.

.1 The need for a DoS may be indicated by the results of the Port Facility Security Assessment (PFSA) and the reasons and circumstances in which a DoS is required should be set out in the Port Facility Security Plan (PFSP).

.2 The need for a DoS may be indicated by an Administration for ships entitled to fly its flag or as a result of a ship security assessment and should be set out in the ship security plan.

5.2 It is likely that a DoS will be requested at higher security levels, when a ship has a higher security level than the port facility, or another ship with which it interfaces, and for ship/port interface or ship to ship activities that pose a higher risk to persons, property or the environment for reasons specific to that ship, including its cargo or passengers or the circumstances at the port facility or a combination of these factors.

5.2.1 In the case that a ship or an Administration, on behalf of ships entitled to fly its flag, requests completion of a DoS, the Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO) or Ship Security Officer (SSO) should acknowledge the request and discuss appropriate security measures.

5.3 A PFSO may also initiate a DoS prior to ship/port interfaces that are identified in the approved PFSA as being of particular concern. Examples may include the embarking or disembarking passengers, and the transfer, loading or unloading of dangerous goods or hazardous substances. The PFSA may also identify facilities at or near highly populated areas or economically significant operations that warrant a DoS.

5.4 The main purpose of a DoS is to ensure agreement is reached between the ship and the port facility or with other ships with which it interfaces as to the respective security measures each will undertake in accordance with the provisions of their respective approved security plans.

.1 The agreed DoS should be signed and dated by both the port facility and the ship(s), as applicable, to indicate compliance with chapter XI-2 and part A of this Code and should include its duration, the relevant security level, or levels and the relevant contact details.

.2 A change in the security level may require that a new or revised DoS be completed.

5.5 The DoS should be completed in English, French or Spanish or in a language common to both the port facility and the ship or the ships, as applicable.

5.6 A model DoS is included in Appendix 1 to this Part of the Code. This model is for a DoS between a ship and a port facility. If the DoS is to cover two ships this model should be appropriately adjusted.

Appendix 1 (Declaration of Security Model Document)

Disclaimer: For general information purpose only - please check IMO ISPS Code - SOLAS Convention for the latest requirements and accurate info

LAST UPDATED ON Jan 25, 2021