By John Irish
The regional impact of a new security system for international shipping will be the main focus for debate at next month's Seatrade Middle East Maritime Conference.
After an agreement by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to introduce wholesale changes to its security codes, the Seatrade Middle East Conference to discuss their impact on the region will be held in Dubai from February 3-5 2003.“The introduction of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) in the Middle East and West Asia is particularly relevant, given the current situation. The cruise industry, in particular, depends on the perception that a destination is safe and secure,” said Brian A. Parritt, chairman and chief executive, International Maritime Security.The mandatory section of the ISPS Code outlines detailed security-related requirements to enhance maritime security and prevent possible terrorist attacks for governments, port authorities and shipping companies, while also advising them on how to achieve the measures.The conference partly aims to address the challenges related to implementing the security code, which is expected to come into force regionally by July 2004. It will also cover a host of other issues including, container shipping, the future of the Middle East and West Asia's major shipping markets, the financing and insurance of shipping fleets and the region's maritime infrastructure.“96% of world trade is carried by international shipping. All involved in the operation of ships and ports have a duty to make travel and transport by sea, as safe as possible,” said Duncan McKelvie, chairman, UAE Branch, Nautical Institute.“The conference will provide everyone involved in regional shipping and port management with invaluable insights into their obligations to reduce risks to passengers, crews and port personnel, on board ships and in port areas, and to vessels and their cargoes.” added McKelvie.