ISPS Solution Inc.
Marine Security Advice and Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions concerning ISPS Solultion Inc.

The operator of a marine facility in Canada must hold a security certification when its commercial activities involve international ships at berth. To obtain it, he must follow a rigorous process of certification which includes a range of regulatory requirements with which it must comply.

ISPS Solutions Inc. offers the possibility of supporting or representing the operator throughout this journey by grouping and structuring all the steps in a project management framework called «  Security Program ».

On the one hand, the Security Program makes it possible to respond to all facets of the process in order to obtain the certificate of compliance essential for its operations. On the other hand, it aims to maintain the levels of compliance required by the regulations by grouping together all the essential procedures and mechanisms to be put in place for the entire period of validity of the certificate.

This « Security Program » put forward exclusively by ISPS Solution Inc. is an innovative concept in terms of security management, which has no equivalent in Canada.

Since security needs can vary enormously from one operator to another, just as the overall level of expertise of their staff, the Security Program offers a new avenue to its clientele.

In a one-stop-shop formula, access to a full range of specialized security services in the domain of shipping is now possible according to the functional assessment of its needs in terms of:

  • Certification or renewal process ;
  • Vulnerability risk assessment ;
  • Security plan and operations manual ;
  • Security training and awareness ;
  • Security drills and training ;
  • Yearly security verifications (audit) ;
  • Port emergency planning ;
  • Health and safety on maritime installations and in ports.

Operators therefore have the possibility of choosing, in whole or in part, the relevant services according to their realities. More specifically, the client can formulate the order of their priorities according to the availability of their personnel, the staggering of deliverables and the distribution of costs according to a schedule that suits them, all in a context where the regulatory framework is respected.

First of all, a Security Program is established according to the real needs of each client, making it possible to avoid unnecessary expenses linked to superfluous services and to concentrate instead on the essential targeted elements and the expected results, while respecting the deadlines.

Also, having accumulated experience from very diverse mandates and carried out in a wide variety of work environments, ISPS Solution Inc. can therefore offer the client proven practices and methods in terms of management of safety. More concretely, this translates into advice and strategies to optimize the use of human and financial resources needed to implement a security program.

Retaining the services of a single supplier allows the customer to achieve significant economies of scale. Consequently, the management of the schedule of deliverables and the control of the quality of the services are facilitated. On the other hand, it avoids the potential cost overruns inherent in offering services from multiple sources.

Based on the expertise acquired throughout the years of practice in the field, Solution ISPS inc. prodigal advice and strategies to its customers and this is also reflected in the course content of its training program.

In addition to issues related to the what and the why, whose answers are found in the regulations, there are those related to the who, the when, the how and in what order, matters for which the Act and the Regulations on maritime transport security do not shed any light.

In order to adequately answer all these questions, Solution ISPS inc. has included in all the course content of its training program, practical and effective segments to help participants fully assume their roles and security responsibilities.

Here are some topics and themes that illustrate the pragmatic aspect of the training :

  • Realistic scenarios ;
  • Examination of many subtleties and incongruities of the regulations ;
  • Good practices for maintaining the level of compliance ;
  • Interpretation versus definition ;
  • Attitude during an inspection and recourse in the event of a violation ;
  • Crisis management and apparent and non-public communications networks ;
  • Complementarity between security and port emergency planning.

It is this notion of results that distinguishes the ISPS Solution Inc. training program.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that the content of the courses is inspired by certain reference documents such as, but not limited to :

  • Course templates 3.21 and 3.25 providing training criteria and recommendations and awareness, respectively, and produced by the International Maritime Organization ;
  • The ISO 20858 standard specific to the maritime security plan ;
  • The Marine Transportation Security Act and Regulations of course.

To consult the complete list of documents refer to the section Library.

All course content in the training program has been developed with the perspective and experience of a maritime security inspector combined with knowledge of best practices in the industry.

This expertise allows to :

  • Identify the rules that are most related to the workplace of the participants;
  • Make judicious choices of scenarios and examples of real-life cases according to the profile of the group;
  • Target the segments of the regulations on which to spend more time;
  • Analyze the practices and procedures in place according to proven methods.

This approach aims to optimize the learning period, especially if the training is given on site with a small group sharing local maritime issues.

In general, training is characterized by its content, which is mainly aimed at staff with security responsibilities. Consequently, these training courses are required by the regulations and are subject to an attestation or certificate following a successful examination.

Awareness sessions, on the other hand, are lighter in terms of content and allow participants to Familiarize yourself with regulatory requirements. Lasting a few hours, these sessions are aimed at people who are involved in maritime security, but who usually do not have direct or formal responsibilities in terms of safety.

To consult the complete list of training courses and sessions offered, refer to the section Training.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed the ISPS Code as a regulatory reference to prevent and fight against any unlawful and terrorist act that may threaten the maritime transport system.

The ISPS code or ISPS Code is recognized worldwide with its acronym always in English which means: International Ship and Port Security.

Canada has developed its own regulations inspired by the ISPS code, hence the origin of the name and the mission of Solution ISPS inc. gave himself.

Solution ISPS

Questions concerning Maritime Security

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the agency of the United Nations responsible for ensuring the safety and safety of maritime transport and to prevent pollution of the seas by ships.


Preceded by the attacks against the USS Cole in October 2000 in Yemen and followed by that against the oil tanker Limburg in 2002, the events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated that all means of transport could be targeted by terrorists.

In December 2002, the IMO therefore decided to develop an international code, called the ISPS code, aimed at securing commercial exchanges by seaway almost anywhere on the planet. Consequently, the concept of maritime security had to cover both ships international than the ports and maritime facilities receiving them.

The ISPS Code is recognized worldwide with its acronym always in English and the latter corresponds to:

International Ship and Port Security

The ISPS code has been imposed on all its member states of the IMO as a regulatory reference so that they can apply the principles uniformly in their territorial waters.

This way of doing things makes it possible to put in place, almost everywhere on the planet, the appropriate protective measures against potential threats in order to protect the global maritime transport network at all levels.

In Canada, for example, the ISPS code resulted in the entry into force, in July 2004, of the Marine Transportation Security Regulations with the objective of preventing and combating any unlawful act and terrorism against the maritime transport system on its territory.

Marine Transportion Security Regulation Règlement sur la sûreté du transport maritime

More specifically, this notion of security is defined by the prevention, detection and intervention against threats of criminal acts that could weigh on the ports and on the maritime installations in interface with international ships.

Maritime Safety and Maritime Security, are distinguished by the type of danger they apprehend, although they share the same objectives: saving life and protecting critical goods essential to the proper functioning of the maritime network.

Maritime Safety can be defined as taking charge of the external risks and dangers specific to maritime navigation, whether of technical origin, mechanical, technological or natural.

Maritime Security for its part, mainly targets threats or acts with criminal intent likely to harm the proper functioning of the elements on which the maritime transport system is based on ships, maritime installations and ports.

A MARSEC level is a level of security requirements, which is established strictly by the Minister of Transport Canada, to take into account the context of threats to buildings, facilities maritime and ports. There are three levels of requirement recognized worldwide:

MARSEC level 1 (at all times)

The level at which minimum security requirements must be implemented in accordance with the procedures an approved security plan.

MARSEC level 2 (at the request of the ministry only)

The level at which additional security requirements must be put in place, due to increased risk, in accordance with the procedures of an approved security plan.

MARSEC level 3 (at the request of the ministry only)

The level at which additional security requirements must be implemented in accordance with the procedures of an approved security plan, due to a security threat that is probable or imminent, whether or not the target is identified.

It is important to note that Canada and the United States have developed bilateral agreements to harmonize some of their ways of doing security. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard and Transportation Canada use the same wording to establish MARSEC levels 1, 2 and 3.

A threat to security can be defined as any suspicious act or any suspicious circumstance that could jeopardize the security of a building, a maritime installation, a port, before, during or after an interface.

A threat to maritime security can take many forms, but it is distinguished by the very nature of its criminal intent that can lead to unfortunate incidents and the direct risk it poses to the safety of staff working in all these workplaces.

The regulations require operators and their employees to report to the Minister, without undue delay, any threat to security, of any breach and any security incident.

The regulations also stipulate that marine facilities must comply with the additional security procedures required within 12 hours after being informed of the MARSEC level upgrade decreed by the ministry of transports.

The security plan is a document containing a series of procedures and sensitive information on the means of preventing and react to threats of potential terrorist acts that could affect critical people and assets essential to the good functioning of maritime operations.

Security procedures mainly deal with access controls, monitoring methods, restricted areas, communications, exercises and training, management of the registers of security, the delivery of on-board stores and fuel as well as certain dangerous cargoes.

All these procedures appearing in the security plan constitute the basis of the MARSEC 1 level and are in force in at all times during dockside operations interface with an international ship.

Additional provisions must appear in the security plan for each of these procedures in order to meet the additional security requirements due to an increased risk justifying an increase in the threat to MARSEC level 2 and 3.

All these procedures together constitute the security plan that ship operators must have approved. by the competent authorities of their country in order to obtain a certification allowing them to operate legitimately in all maritime facilities and ports of IMO Member States.

Similarly, marine facilities and ports must have their security plans approved in order to to obtain the certification allowing them to welcome ships from overseas.

Specifically, all ships entitled to fly the flag of a foreign state, heading to Canada, must have a valid security certificate before entering Canadian territorial waters. In the same way, all Canadian vessels making international voyages are certified by Transport Canada.

It should be noted that Canadian vessels operating strictly within the limits of Canadian territorial waters, referred to as commonly domestic ships, are not generally subject to these international regulations. Similarly, Canadian government vessels are exempt from the regulations in terms of safety.

In addition, if the marine facility is located within the limits of a port, the port authority must obtain certification to ensure safety coordination in collaboration with all facility operators certified maritime.

It is important to note that all security certificates issued by Member States have a maximum duration of 5 years and are automatically forwarded to IMO for publication on their website.

In Canada, Transport Canada is the organization mandated to issue compliance documents. Whether in the form of a security certificate or a letter of compliance, these documents are valid for a maximum period of five years.

This category of marine facilities is found in Canadian regulations only and is defined there as follows:

Marine facility, which in a calendar year has no more than 10 interfaces with ships to which Part 2 of the Maritime Transport Security Regulations (MTSR) applies.

A procedures manual is required for approval, followed by a compliance letter which is addressed to the operator to certify that the submitted procedures comply with the regulatory requirements for this category of marine installation.

A follow-up is done annually by Transport Canada to determine whether the status of the marine facility is appropriate according to the number of interfaces planned.