ISSA raises port access concerns at the IMO

ISSA has taken the issue of unfair port access practices levied against its members to the international stage by delivering a verbal and written intervention on the issue at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Presenting the submission, first of all to the FAL43 meeting in April and then to the Maritime Safety Committee meeting in June, ISSA told IMO member states that its members continued to experience unwarranted delay, obstruction and unfair charges when they try to enter ports to deliver stores to ships.

“When the ISPS Code was devised and passed into IMO law, we worked hard to ensure that the role of the ship supplier was highlighted, recognised and incorporated into the legislation,” ISSA said.

“Supplies to ships are governed and driven by the ship owners and ship managers. Full documentation is required and is to be found with every ship supply delivery made to a vessel. Ship suppliers do not just arrive at the dock gate without clear orders and documentation.

”In 2016, when the legislation was updated, we again produced a detailed booklet highlighting the agreed operational parameters within which ship suppliers would operate to ensure both the spirit and letter of the law were observed during ship supply operations.

”Now, we come before distinguished delegates once again to respectfully draw to the Committee’s attention the lack of co-operation by Port Authorities in many places with ship suppliers. Daily our members – and we are sure non-members also suffer similar obstruction – encounter unwarranted delays, unworkable time slots for stores deliveries and absurdly high charges by some ports simply to allow a stores truck to enter and go about its lawful business,” ISSA said.

Quoting three examples of such practices, ISSA reminded delegates that detailed examination of these port rules shows that they fly in the face of what is set out in the ISPS Code. 

“In addition they are having an adverse impact on ship operations because, trite though the phrase might be, ships can’t sail without stores.

“We much appreciate the previous messages sent to Member States reminding them of the need for port operations to be conducted in accordance with the ISPS Code and reminding them that ship supply forms an integral part of port operations globally and should not be impeded unnecessarily.

“We would respectfully ask that another reminder is sent to Member States that ship supply has to be treated properly as our Members have a right to go about their business serving the global fleet within the terms set out in the ISPS Code.

“Furthermore, we ask that Member States remind their relevant departments that the ISPS Code is not to be considered as a money-making venture but a co-ordinated legal framework which has very successfully protected ports and ships globally from any harm as a result of security breaches,” ISSA concluded.