Building a national maritime security policy
The issue of port security raised concerns at the highest levels after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 against the United States. Security threats against ports and vessels acquired a new perspective and in 2002 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, introducing Chapter XI-2 - Special measures to enhance maritime security. This set of regulations enshrines the International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code (ISPS Code), which entered into force on 1 July 2004.
This Code establishes a set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities. It encompasses two parts. Part A establishes the mandatory provisions, the non-mandatory (“recommended”) and part B provides guidelines about how to comply with the obligatory requirements of part A. Together with a critical analysis of the national legislation about the enactment of the ISPS Code into national law, this dissertation examines the level of implementation and compliance of this instrument in Mexico with special focus on port security. This dissertation also provides a transparent incident-reporting instrument developed and tested through this research effort in Mexico for reporting of port and maritime security incidents.
This tool joins three primary port/maritime security functions:
a) Reporting of port and maritime security incidents;
b) Classification and investigation of serious security incidents that require reassessments of the Port Security Assessments, (PSA), Port Facility Security Assessments (PFSA), and amendments to Port Security Plans (PSP) and Port Facility Security Plans (PFSP) and finally;
c) Collection of evidence material related to the security incident.
This instrument, combined with statistics, provides nations with crucial information, about threats, needs and challenges for allocation of economic, material and human resources. It also provides essential information material to set up strategies for the development of a National Maritime Security Policy. Its flexibility and adaptability makes possible its implementation at any State of the world.
The results of this analysis reflect the conflictive cooperation between the Secretaría de Marina (SEMAR) and the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, (SCT). This, together with the ambiguities and contradictions of the National Maritime Regime, even though the extensive reforms of 2016 limits the exercise of authority of SEMAR and the operation of the CUMAR(s), the organ responsible for implementation and compliance of the ISPS Code, at all ports across the country. This doctoral dissertation comprises six introductory chapters, which are referred to as the kappa and five annexed papers. It aims to contribute to the maritime realm within the area of maritime security, with special focus on port security through the following general objectives:
• Elaborate a critical analysis of the current port security situation of Mexico, with special focus on implementation and compliance of the ISPS Code, including the state of the art and harmonization of international legislation with national law;
• Identify the most relevant security threats to port facilities in Mexico, including oil terminals and offshore installations;
• Develop an analytical instrument for security incidents-reporting & incident investigation, to strengthen the continual evolution of PSA/PFSA and PSP/PFSP and useful for setting up the strategies of a national maritime security policy with possibility for implementation worldwide.
The approach adopted in this study is mainly based on qualitative methods, combined with action research and a limited use of statistics. The research objectives call for classical documental analyses examining the elements of relevant international legislation against its implementation into national legislation in the referred nation-state. The methods were selected on their usefulness and efficacy for analysis of law and policy. Action Research was used for implementation test and improvement of the reporting incident instrument, which can also be used for setting up the strategies for the development of a National Maritime Security Policy. Action Research is recommended when it is intended to improve understanding, develop his/others learning and influence other’s learning, taking action for social improvement.
The findings related to serious deficiencies in the implementation and compliance of the ISPS Code in Mexico, concerning reporting of security incidents and its re- evaluation with the PFSA and respective amendments to PFSP, the poor exercise of authority from the representatives of SEMAR at the CUMARs in respect of fulfilling its obligations and responsibilities concerning port and maritime security; and the identification of necessary legal amendments to national law, as well as the remarkable improvement in reporting security incidents after the implementation of the “transparent security-incident-reporting tool”, that enables port/maritime security incident investigation and can serve to identify the problem areas; contributing to set up the strategies for the development of a national maritime security policy, together with the instrument itself, are some of the most relevant contributions of this dissertation.