Security deregulation of port service providers: frequently asked questions

What is changing?

From 30 June 2016 port service providers (operators of lighters, barges, line handling boats, pilotage services and tugs) will no longer be required to have an approved security plan.

Why has this change been made?

In consultation with industry, the Department conducted a Security Risk Assessment of port service providers and found that the removal of security plan requirements would not increase risk for the maritime sector. This finding was based on the nature of their operations and the other forms of regulation that port service providers are subject to.

What are the benefits of the change?

The change will relieve industry of the costs of conducting a security assessment and preparing and complying with a security plan. The change will enable significant cost savings for port service providers.

How can port service providers benefit from this change?

Port service providers may write to to request the cancellation of their security plan from a date after 30 June 2016. Letters notifying port service providers include a template email to assist with requesting cancellation.

Will the change impact Australia's international maritime security obligations?

No. Australia is not obliged to security regulate port service providers under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 (SOLAS) or the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code 2003 (ISPS).

What will this change mean for the regulatory status of port service providers?

Port service provider security plans remain in force until cancelled or expired. Following this, port service providers will continue to operate within the port as maritime industry participants, with responsibilities to not hinder or obstruct compliance with the security plans of other maritime operators.

Will the change impact on MSIC requirements for port service provider staff?

Port service provider staff that have an operational need to work unescorted in a waterside or landside security zone managed by a port or port facility operator will continue to be required to hold and display a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) while in the zone.

Persons with an MSIC who will no longer have an operational need to hold an MSIC may hold their MSIC for 12 months after the change comes into force. Persons not having an operational need at the end of that 12 month period will need to arrange the return of the MSIC to the relevant Issuing Body.

Will the change impact ships, ports and port facilities?

Following the cancellation of a port service provider plan, port and port facility operators may make changes to their plans to reflect their responsibility for all matters of the ship/port interface. Declarations of Security (DoS) between foreign-flagged ships and port service providers are unaffected.

What are the next steps for port service providers?

  • Port service providers can contact the Department to request cancellation of their plan, to take effect from a date after 30 June 2016.
  • Port service providers should liaise with their local port and port facility operator(s) to advise them of the cancellation request and when the cancellation will take effect. This will assist port and port facility operators in determining what changes they may need to make to their security plans.

If you have any questions regarding this change please do not hesitate to contact the local Office of Transport Security office.