The Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), under SOLAS Chapter XI-2, Regulation 6, is a system onboard designed to raise the alarm ashore in case of a security threat, so that help from security forces can be deployed to the scene. In the majority of cases the alert is activated by the captain onboard and is first received onshore by the ship’s owner, CSO or a SSAS management third party, such as Securewest International.
SSAS is required by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) to strengthen security and enhances your duty of care to your crew/ personnel. The system supports business continuity and reduces operational disruption if an incident does occur. If the alert isn’t managed correctly, in all likelihood, the incident would lead to the potential financial loss, legal cost, reputational damage and injury / loss of life.
At Securewest, we often ask ourselves why companies choose to manage their alerts in house and open themselves up to non-compliance. This debate has led us to one conclusion… to save costs. Whether that’s because of their risk tolerance or failing to recognise the significance of the associated risk is anyone’s guess but what we do know is 1/ it is often not as expensive as you may imagine and 2/ there are many benefits, which we believe, far outweigh the financial costs and burden on internal resources.
6 benefits of choosing a third-party SSAS management company
- Strengthens your ship’s security and enhances the safety of your crew
- Ensures compliance – ISPS / Flag State / Annual Radio Survey, SOLAS chapter XI-2
- Never miss or react late to an alert which could cause threat to the life and/or damage to vessel
- Testing is essential to check it is functioning properly in case of a real incident. This is recommended annually but at Securewest we often include quarterly tests in our client contracts
- Third party management takes the onus off your CSO and personnel so they can concentrate on other tasks
- Streamline the processes and procedures across your fleet.
SSAS Management In Action – Rig Attack
In February 2021, during the early hours local time, the Securewest Maritime Assistance Centre responded to a SSAS activation. A rig reported that they were being attacked in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico. Gunshots had been heard from underneath the rig believed to be from at least two perpetrators.
Securewest responded to the alert, ensuring all personnel on board were safe and secure. Securewest followed protocol to inform all relevant parties, including key company contacts and the Flag State, while the rig informed the local authority.
All personnel were safe, with no injuries sustained and the rig remained secure. The local authority attended the incident, and all procedures and protocols were followed efficiently and effectively so the incident didn’t worsen.
Securewest SSAS Monitoring and Management
At Securewest we have been supporting clients with our SSAS management service for 20 years. This year, 100% of our clients renewed their contract sighting quality of service as the main reason. We operate a Maritime Assistance Centre (MAC) fully equipped by the maritime specialists which is a 24 hour, 7 days a week. Our clients have a wide range of offshore assets which we monitor for them including superyachts, oil rigs, large tankers and container vessels, located all over the world.
This 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 react within 5 minutes to the alert, notifying pre-agreed organisations, authorities and personnel.
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