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IMO ISPS Code Section 19 - Requirement for Verification of SSA, SSP and Issuance of Interim and Full-Term International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC)

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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.

Under section 19 of Part A of the ISPS Code, regulated ships are verified to meet the obligations which specify the requirements for verifications such as how often they should occur and who has the power to verify. If the ISPS Code applies to a ship, it must have an International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) in order to operate.


An ISSC certifies that the security system and any associated security equipment of a ship have been verified and are compliant. A Registered Security Organization (RSO), on behalf of Maritime Administrations, carries out Ship Security Plan (SSP) approvals and verification audits, leading to the issue of an ISSC for the ship.

In general, the ISPS certification procedure consists of - Ship Security Assessment (SSA) and Ship Security Plan (SSP) submitted to an RSO/Administration for review and approval; interim verification on board and issue of an Interim ISSC valid for six months; initial verification on board within Interim Certificate expiring date and, issuing of the full term ISSC for five years.

The ISSC must be presented regularly at inspections of the ship in ports and, a missing or expired certificate may imply sanctions.

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ISPS Code - Verification and Certification for Ships

ISPS Code Part A Section 19 - Verification and Certification for Ships

Requirements for Verification and Certification for Ships




19 Verification and Certification for Ships

19.1 Verifications

19.1.1 Each ship to which this Part of the Code applies shall be subject to the verifications specified below:

.1 an initial verification before the ship is put in service or before the certificate required under section 19.2 is issued for the first time, which shall include a complete verification of its security system and any associated security equipment covered by the relevant provisions of chapter XI-2, this Part of the Code and the approved ship security plan. This verification shall ensure that the security system and any associated security equipment of the ship fully complies with the applicable requirements of chapter XI-2 and this Part of the Code, is in satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which the ship is intended;

.2 a renewal verification at intervals specified by the Administration, but not exceeding five years, except where section 19.3 is applicable. This verification shall ensure that the security system and any associated security equipment of the ship fully complies with the applicable requirements of chapter XI-2, this Part of the Code and the approved ship security plan, is in satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which the ship is intended;

.3 at least one intermediate verification. If only one intermediate verification is carried out it shall take place between the second and third anniversary date of the certificate as defined in regulation I/2(n). The intermediate verification shall include inspection of the security system and any associated security equipment of the ship to ensure that it remains satisfactory for the service for which the ship is intended. Such intermediate verification shall be endorsed on the certificate;

.4 any additional verifications as determined by the Administration.

19.1.2 The verifications of ships shall be carried out by officers of the Administration. The Administration may, however, entrust the verifications to a recognized security organization referred to in regulation XI-2/1.

19.1.3 In every case, the Administration concerned shall fully guarantee the completeness and efficiency of the verification and shall undertake to ensure the necessary arrangements to satisfy this obligation.

19.1.4 The security system and any associated security equipment of the ship after verification shall be maintained to conform with the provisions of regulations XI-2/4.2 and XI-2/6, this Part of the Code and the approved ship security plan. After any verification under section 19.1.1 has been completed, no changes shall be made in security system and in any associated security equipment or the approved ship security plan without the sanction of the Administration.

19.2 Issue or endorsement of certificate

19.2.1 An International Ship Security Certificate shall be issued after the initial or renewal verification in accordance with the provisions of section 19.1.

 19.2.2 Such certificate shall be issued or endorsed either by the Administration or by a recognized security organization acting on behalf of the Administration.

19.2.3 Another Contracting Government may, at the request of the Administration, cause the ship to be verified and, if satisfied that the provisions of section 19.1.1 are complied with, shall issue or authorize the issue of an International Ship Security Certificate to the ship and, where appropriate, endorse or authorize the endorsement of that certificate on the ship, in accordance with this Code.

19.2.3.1 A copy of the certificate and a copy of the verification report shall be transmitted as soon as possible to the requesting Administration.

19. 2.3.2 A certificate so issued shall contain a statement to the effect that it has been issued at the request of the Administration and it shall have the same force and receive the same recognition as the certificate issued under section 19.2.2.

19. 2.4 The International Ship Security Certificate shall be drawn up in a form corresponding to the model given in the appendix to this Code. If the language used is not English, French or Spanish, the text shall include a translation into one of these languages.

19.3 Duration and validity of certificate

19.3.1 An International Ship Security Certificate shall be issued for a period specified by the Administration which shall not exceed five years.

19. 3.2 When the renewal verification is completed within three months before the expiry date of the existing certificate, the new certificate shall be valid from the date of completion of the renewal verification to a date not exceeding five years from the date of expiry of the existing certificate.

19.3.2.1 When the renewal verification is completed after the expiry date of the existing certificate, the new certificate shall be valid from the date of completion of the renewal verification to a date not exceeding five years from the date of expiry of the existing certificate.

19.3.2.2 When the renewal verification is completed more than three months before the expiry date of the existing certificate, the new certificate shall be valid from the date of completion of the renewal verification to a date not exceeding five years from the date of completion of the renewal verification.

19.3.3 If a certificate is issued for a period of less than five years, the Administration may extend the validity of the certificate beyond the expiry date to the maximum period specified in section 19.3.1, provided that the verifications referred to in section 19.1.1 applicable when a certificate is issued for a period of five years are carried out as appropriate.

19.3.4 If a renewal verification has been completed and a new certificate cannot be issued or placed on board the ship before the expiry date of the existing certificate, the Administration or recognized security organization acting on behalf of the Administration may endorse the existing certificate and such a certificate shall be accepted as valid for a further period which shall not exceed five months from the expiry date.

 19. 3.5 If a ship at the time when a certificate expires is not in a port in which it is to be verified, the Administration may extend the period of validity of the certificate but this extension shall be granted only for the purpose of allowing the ship to complete its voyage to the port in which it is to be verified, and then only in cases where it appears proper and reasonable to do so. No certificate shall be extended for a period longer than three months, and the ship to which an extension is granted shall not, on its arrival in the port in which it is to be verified, be entitled by virtue of such extension to leave that port without having a new certificate. When the renewal verification is completed, the new certificate shall be valid to a date not exceeding five years from the expiry date of the existing certificate before the extension was granted.

19.3.6 A certificate issued to a ship engaged on short voyages which has not been extended under the foregoing provisions of this section may be extended by the Administration for a period of grace of up to one month from the date of expiry stated on it. When the renewal verification is completed, the new certificate shall be valid to a date not exceeding five years from the date of expiry of the existing certificate before the extension was granted.

19.3.7 If an intermediate verification is completed before the period specified in section 19.1.1, then:

.1 the expiry date shown on the certificate shall be amended by endorsement to a date which shall not be more than three years later than the date on which the intermediate verification was completed;

.2 the expiry date may remain unchanged provided one or more additional verifications are carried out so that the maximum intervals between the verifications prescribed by section 19.1.1 are not exceeded.

19.3.8 A certificate issued under section 19.2 shall cease to be valid in any of the following cases:

.1 if the relevant verifications are not completed within the periods specified under section 19.1.1;

.2 if the certificate is not endorsed in accordance with section 19.1.1.3 and 19.3.7.1, if applicable;

.3 when a Company assumes the responsibility for the operation of a ship not previously operated by that Company; and

.4 upon transfer of the ship to the flag of another State.

19.3.9 In the case of:

.1 a transfer of a ship to the flag of another Contracting Government, the Contracting Government whose flag the ship was formerly entitled to fly shall, as soon as possible, transmit to the receiving Administration copies of, or all information relating to, the International Ship Security Certificate carried by the ship before the transfer and copies of available verification reports, or

.2 a Company that assumes responsibility for the operation of a ship not previously operated by that Company, the previous Company shall as soon as possible, transmit to the receiving Company copies of any information related to the International Ship Security Certificate or to facilitate the verifications described in section 19.4.2.

19.4 Interim certification

19.4.1 The certificates specified in section 19.2 shall be issued only when the Administration issuing the certificate is fully satisfied that the ship complies with the requirements of section 19.1. However, after 1 July 2004, for the purposes of:

.1 a ship without a certificate, on delivery or prior to its entry or re-entry into service;

.2 transfer of a ship from the flag of a Contracting Government to the flag of another Contracting Government;

.3 transfer of a ship to the flag of a Contracting Government from a State which is not a Contracting Government; or

.4 when a Company assumes the responsibility for the operation of a ship not previously operated by that Company; until the certificate referred to in section 19.2 is issued, the Administration may cause an Interim International Ship Security Certificate to be issued, in a form corresponding to the model given in the Appendix to this Part of the Code.

until the certificate referred to in section 19.2 is issued, the Administration may cause an Interim International Ship Security Certificate to be issued, in a form corresponding to the model given in the Appendix to this Part of the Code.

19.4.2 An Interim International Ship Security Certificate shall only be issued when the Administration or recognized security organization, on behalf of the Administration, has verified that:

.1 the ship security assessment required by this Part of the Code has been completed,

.2 a copy of the ship security plan meeting the requirements of chapter XI-2 and part A of this Code is provided on board, has been submitted for review and approval, and is being implemented on the ship;

.3 the ship is provided with a ship security alert system meeting the requirements of regulation XI-2/6, if required,

.4 the company security officer:

.1 has ensured:

.1 the review of the ship security plan for compliance with this Part of the Code,

.2 that the plan has been submitted for approval, and

.3 that the plan is being implemented on the ship, and

.2 has established the necessary arrangements, including arrangements for drills, exercises and internal audits, through which the company security officer is satisfied that the ship will successfully complete the required verification in accordance with section 19.1.1.1, within 6 months;

.5 arrangements have been made for carrying out the required verifications under section 19.1.1.1;

.6 the master, the ship’s security officer and other ship’s personnel with specific security duties are familiar with their duties and responsibilities as specified in this Part of the Code; and with the relevant provisions of the ship security plan placed on board; and have been provided such information in the working language of the ship’s personnel or languages understood by them; and

.7 the ship security officer meets the requirements of this Part of the Code.

19. 4.3 An Interim International Ship Security Certificate may be issued by the Administration or by a recognized security organization authorized to act on its behalf.

19.4.4 An Interim International Ship Security Certificate shall be valid for 6 months, or until the certificate required by section 19.2 is issued, whichever comes first, and may not be extended.

19.4.5 No Contracting Government shall cause a subsequent, consecutive Interim International Ship Security Certificate to be issued to a ship if, in the judgment of the Administration or the recognized security organization, one of the purposes of the ship or a Company in requesting such certificate is to avoid full compliance with chapter XI-2 and this Part of the Code beyond the period of the initial interim certificate as specified in section 19.4.4.

19.4.6 For the purposes of regulation XI-2/9, Contracting Governments may, prior to accepting an Interim International Ship Security Certificate as a valid certificate, ensure that the requirements of sections 19.4.2.4 to 19.4.2.6 have been met.

ISPS Code Part B Section 19 - Verification and Certification for Ships

Guidance regarding Verification and Certification for Ships

19 Verification and Certification for Ships

No additional guidance.

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

LAST UPDATED ON Feb 5, 2021