Home IMO SOLAS ISPS Code › You are here

IMO ISPS Code Section 7 Ship Security - Mandatory Requirements and Guidance for Marsec Security Levels

isps ship 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 Section 7 of Part A of the ISPS Code, there are mandatory levels of security level advisories from 1 to 3. Based on threat information, competent governmental authorities will undertake changes in security levels for ships and port facilities. Level 1 is the normal level that the ship or port facility operates daily and this level ensures that security personnel maintain minimum appropriate security at all times.


Level 2 is a heightened level for a while during a security risk that has become visible and appropriate measures must be conducted during this security level. And finally, Level 3 includes several security measures for an incident that has occurred or forthcoming. The security measure is maintained for a limited time frame and must be attended to by the security personnel on an emergency basis.

You may also read:

isps marsec levels

ISPS Code - Ship Security

ISPS Code Part A Section 7 - Ship Security

Mandatory Requirements of Ship Security




7 Ship Security

7.1 A ship is required to act upon the security levels set by Contracting Governments as set out below.

7.2 At security level 1, the following activities shall be carried out, through appropriate measures, on all ships, taking into account the guidance given in part B of this Code, in order to identify and take preventive measures against security incidents:

.1 ensuring the performance of all ship security duties;

.2 controlling access to the ship;

.3 controlling the embarkation of persons and their effects;

.4 monitoring restricted areas to ensure that only authorized persons have access;

.5 monitoring of deck areas and areas surrounding the ship;

.6 supervising the handling of cargo and ship’s stores; and

7.2.7 ensuring that security communication is readily available.

7.3 At security level 2, the additional protective measures, specified in the ship security plan, shall be implemented for each activity detailed in section 7.2, taking into account the guidance given in part B of this Code.

7.4 At security level 3, further specific protective measures, specified in the ship security plan, shall be implemented for each activity detailed in section 7.2, taking into account the guidance given in part B of this Code.

7.5 Whenever security level 2 or 3 is set by the Administration, the ship shall acknowledge receipt of the instructions on change of the security level.

7.6 Prior to entering a port or whilst in a port within the territory of a Contracting Government that has set security level 2 or 3, the ship shall acknowledge receipt of this instruction and shall confirm to the port facility security officer the initiation of the implementation of the appropriate measures and procedures as detailed in the ship security plan, and in the case of security level 3, in instructions issued by the Contracting Government which has set security level 3. The ship shall report any difficulties in implementation. In such cases, the port facility security officer and ship security officer shall liase and co-ordinate the appropriate actions.

 7.7 If a ship is required by the Administration to set, or is already at, a higher security level than that set for the port it intends to enter or in which it is already located, then the ship shall advise, without delay, the competent authority of the Contracting Government within whose territory the port facility is located and the port facility security officer of the situation.

7.7.1 In such cases, the ship security officer shall liaise with the port facility security officer and co-ordinate appropriate actions, if necessary.

7.8 An Administration requiring ships entitled to fly its flag to set security level 2 or 3 in a port of another Contracting Government shall inform that Contracting Government without delay.

7.9 When Contracting Governments set security levels and ensure the provision of security level information to ships operating in their territorial sea, or having communicated an intention to enter their territorial sea, such ships shall be advised to maintain vigilance and report immediately to their Administration and any nearby coastal States any information that comes to their attention that might affect maritime security in the area.

7.9.1 When advising such ships of the applicable security level, a Contracting Government shall, taking into account the guidance given in the part B of this Code, also advise those ships of any security measure that they should take and, if appropriate, of measures that have been taken by the Contracting Government to provide protection against the threat.

ISPS Code Part B Section 7 - Ship Security

Guidance regarding ship security

7 Ship Security

Relevant guidance is provided under Section 8, Section 9 and Section 13.

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