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By Cécile Lucot
    Cécile Lucot has been living in St. Barths for 9 years. Originally from Bordeaux, this professional journalist has been the editor-in-chief of St-Barth Magazine for 6 years. She is actually a reporter for the daily local mini-newspaper "Today" and writes regularly for regional magazines such as Mer Caraïbes and Tropical, and once or twice a month presents a synthese of the local news on St. Barths Online.
  November 8, 2004 - #31
  Establishment of new regulations for international ports
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The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) was created by the International Maritime Organization following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Specialists in international maritime law, and particularly the United States, wished to optimize the protection of ships and ports against acts of terrorism or hostility. Applicable since July 1, 2004, in ports around the world, the code is intended for the following types of boats that undertake international voyages: passenger boats, including high-speed boats that carry passengers; cargo boats, including high-speed ones, with a net tonnage equal or superior to 500 tons, as well as floating oil rigs. All ports providing services to these types of vessels are also placed under the regulations of the ISPS code.

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is a federation of 230 ports in 90 countries. The association estimates that 90% of its members come under these new rules for safety and security. Among the 206 ports, located in over 45 different countries, that meet the requirements, there are seven in the United States, 19 in Iran (mostly where there are oil tankers) 12 in Japan, six in China and 20 in the Philippines. In Europe, The United Kingdom tops the list with 22 ports that confirm to the regulations, with another nine in Spain, and four in France (Le Havre, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Nantes). As for Germany, Denmark and Belgium, each of these countries has one port that meets the requirements (Hamburg, Aarhus and Anvers). According to the International Maritime Organization, the security requirements for ports are 30 years behind those put into place at airports. Yet the enforcement in ports is difficult to put into place in just a few months, especially in ports the size of that in Saint-Barth.

A “plan for safety and security concerning the port facilities in Saint-Barth” has been created following and audit led by a company that specializes in such things. It recommends that ISPS standards be put into effect for the commercial dock in Public as well as the passenger terminal in Gustavia. Two members of the port staff have already completed a special one-week training course. The municipality has officially named Bruno Greaux and Ernest Brin as “security agents for the port facilities of Saint-Barth,” responsible by law for said security.

To conform to this new code, the commercial dock should be fenced in. Ten security cameras were installed over the summer, and a system that filters those who enter should also be put in place. The days when you could stand on the edge of the commercial dock and fish while watching the cargo ships unload are gone forever. As for the passenger terminal, the confidential security plan calls for a system like that at the airport, where arriving passengers cannot mix with those who are departing. If the ferries that transport passengers from one French port to another (between Saint-Barth and Saint-Martin for example) with less than 20 nautical miles from coast to coast, are not as yet under the new laws, they will be in one or two years. That is also the case for the mega-yachts that come frequently to Saint-Barth. The majority of the 250 boats, sailboats and motorboats that celebrate the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in the port of Gustavia, are concerned. Many have already done necessary improvements, such as the installation of extra security cameras at the dock level.

The plan for the safety and security of the port facilities has been presented to the municipality, as they govern the port, as well as to the two security agents on the port staff. All are giving much thought as to the best way to put the new regulations into effect as fast as possible, considering the need for additional financial investment by the municipality in terms of both technology and manpower.

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  More to come
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