SSAS Testing Uncovered

The Securewest Maritime Assistance Centre (MAC) provides 24/7 testing and monitoring of Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) for vessels. Upon detection of a SSAS alert, Securewest will notify appropriate governmental authorities, in accordance with each vessel’s flag state authority statutes or regulations. We will also notify owners and/or vessel managers by following pre-planned response procedures both parties have agreed upon. The service meets the requirements of International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 XI-2 6.2.1.

Our SSAS Testing Process:

SSAS Alert Process

Why is SSAS Testing Important?

The Maritime Assistance Centre carries out regular SSAS testing for vessels and provides an after-action report for the Captain and CSO. We support all types of SSAS systems including Inmarsat SAT-C and various Tracking Service Providers. These tests are carried out in accordance with the flag state the vessel is registered under.

Testing is important to meet flag state requirements, pick up system and user errors, ensure the SSAS unit is operational in times of emergency and for continuous improvement.

Inconsistencies discovered by SSAS testing

Our Maritime Assistance Centre carries out quarterly testing for most clients and although the majority go smoothly, this process helps to highlight improvements and is particularly valuable during flag state surveys, verifications, port state control and ISM / internal audits.

Centre Manager, Connor Hunter explains, “We work in partnership with our clients to arrange frequent tests on behalf on the Company Security Officer (CSO). The vessel activates the SSAS alert and follows an authentication procedure which can include a duress phrase used to verify the status of the vessel.  If they don’t give the correct answer, it signifies they are under attack or there is an incident onboard. Testing always shows if there are any flaws in the process and ensures the crew are confident.

“Our clients are some of the largest shipping companies in the world with vessels carrying millions of dollars’ worth of goods on each transit so making sure the procedure works correctly in case of an attack is vital not only for financial reasons but the safety of their crew. Clients range from offshore oil rigs to super yachts, and processes are tailored to each client.  If a client has several vessels, we can also standardise the procedures across a fleet to guarantee compliance, continuity and enhance security.

“We identify errors which if it was a live alert could cause complications or delays, potentially endangering lives and increasing the vulnerability of the vessel. A common issue is incorrect information in the message.  This may be due to a wrongly programmed or not updated SSAS unit i.e. CSO / ACSO has changed, wrong time shown and not including key details like the IMO number or vessel name.

“Testing highlights any operator errors, i.e. vessels not following or unfamiliar with the procedures and can assist with training of crew so they are confident to raise the alert. It also allows us to double check the information we hold on the system is correct for example contact details of the CSO / vessel etc.

“My team are highly experienced in identifying any issues, developing procedures, suggesting improvements and have expert knowledge of industry best practice. This is invaluable and a huge benefit to our clients.”

The Securewest SASS Testing, Monitoring and Management service takes the responsibility away from your CSO and on call personnel. Working with our clients we streamline and update protocols and procedures ensuring you conform to IMO standards and are fully compliant. We are currently offering a free demonstration and 6-week trial. To find out more and for a no obligation quotation contact

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