Ship & Port Security

Home(reference is made to the ISPS Code and Merchant Shipping (Ships and Port Facility Security) Regulations, 2004 available on this website)

Current Security Levels

Vessel Security Level: 1 (green)

Port Security Level: 1 (green)

National Authorities Responsible for Ship Security - SOLAS Regulation XI-2/13.1.1

The Director of Maritime Affairs is the Government official for Security related issues according to Part A of the ISPS Code and the Merchant Shipping (Ships and Port Facility Security) Regulations, 2004. The Director shall set security levels for St. Kitts & Nevis ships.

The Coastguard shall set security levels and ensure the provision of security level information to ships operating in the territorial sea of St. Kitts & Nevis or ships that have communicated an intention to enter the territorial sea. The Coast Guard point of contact is:
Tel: + 1 869 465 8384/466 7312
Fax: +1 869 465 8406

Ship - to - Shore Security Alerts

Ship Security Alert Systems, where these are required to be fitted to a ship, should be programmed to initiate and transmit a ship-to-shore security alert (SSA) to the Competent Authority, this being the Company Security Officer (CSO)* responsible for the ship or an authorised third party (see below) which has been contracted by the company. The SSA should also be programmed to be sent to the Department of Maritime Affairs on email address

When received by the Competent Authority, they are to verify whether the SSA is genuine or not.

The Competent Authority should then send a further email to the Department of Maritime Affairs AND to the International Ship Registry to advise whether the SSA is genuine, a false alarm or a test message. This further email should be sent as soon as possible.

if the SSA is genuine,

when a message confirming that the SSA is genuine is sent to

The Department of Maritime Affairs:

Type Approval of Ship Security Alert Systems

Ship Security Alert Systems (SSAS) are required to confirm to performance standards identified in SOLAS chapter XI-2 regulation 6.  standards are not to be inferior to those adopted by IMO - Resolutions MSC. 136(76), revised by MSC. 147(77), and A.694(17)

There are no provisions in SOLAS chapter XI-2 regulation 6, for Administrations to type approve systems. St. Kitts & Nevis Administration is therefore unable to type approve any SSAS. Ship specific systems will be reviewed by the recognised organisation on behalf of our Administration and approved as part of the ship's security system verification

Use of authorised third parties for receipt of SSA's

St. Kitts & Nevis Administration recognise that certain owners and managers may have difficulty in monitoring SSA's generated by their ships.  Bearing this in mind this Administration recommends owners and managers to the use of a 24/7/365 SSA monitoring service in addition to their own CSO.

Authorised third parties are;

Gray Page Ltd

Securewest International


if an Owner/Manager wishes to use these companies services they should contact them direct.

However, notwithstanding this recommendation the ultimate responsibility for advising the Department of Maritime Affairs of Ship Security Alerts and any contravention of the Merchant Shipping (Ship & Port Facility Security) Regulations, 2004 rests with the Company & Master.


With the continuing prevalence of pirate activity off the Horn of Africa and into the wider Indian Ocean Industry Best Management Practices (BMP) contained in this booklet is to assist ships to avoid, deter or delay piracy attacks in the High Risk Area, as defined in section 2 (see Page 4). Experience and data collected by Naval/Military forces, shows that the application of the recommendations contained within this booklet can and will make a significant difference in preventing a ship becoming a victim of piracy. Not all Ship Protection Measures discussed in BMP4 may be applicable to every ship type.

The potential consequences of not following BMP, as set out in this booklet, are severe. There have been instances of pirates subjecting their hostages to violence and other ill treatment. The average length of a hijacking of vessel and her crew is over 7 months.

In all cases, the industry Best Management Practices should be implemented to the greatest extent possible when entering the extended piracy zone off the Horn of Africa, as set out in MSC. Circ.1337.

Where possible, this booklet should be read with reference to the Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (, and the NATO Shipping Centre, (, websites which provide additional regularly updated advice (including up to date alerts on piracy attacks).

Company Security Officers

All ships to which the ISPS Code applies are required to have a Company Security Officer assigned to them, the details of which must be given to the International Registrar of Shipping & Seamen by using Form A21 available on this website. The Company* must keep the International registrar advised of any changes to the contact details of the CSO.

Ship Security Officers





Chapter VI of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 (STCW Convention) has been amended with a new Regulation VI/5 requiring all persons designated as Ship Security Officer (SSO) to be issued with a certificate of proficiency.

The above mentioned amendments entered into force on 1st January 2008.

In light of the above, the administration of St. Kitts and Nevis advise that:

1. From 1st January 2008, all ship security officers and deputy security officers on board St Kitts and Nevis flagged vessels, who did not hold or could not document qualifications as ship security officers before the entry into force of this regulation, shall have a certificate issued by an administration whose certificates are recognised by St. Kitts and Nevis, in accordance with regulation VI/5 of STCW 78 as amended. Recognised administrations are those on the STCW whitelist.

2. Until 1st July 2009, St Kitts and Nevis will continue to recognize personnel who hold or can document qualifications as ship security officers, issued before the entry into force of this regulation.

3. After 1 July 2009, all ship security officers and deputy security officers on board St. Kitts and Nevis flagged vessel shall have a certificate issued by an administration whose certificates are recognised by St Kitts and Nevis, in accordance with regulation VI/5 of STCW 78 as amended. Recognised administrations are those on the STCW whitelist.

Ship Security Plans & Records

A list of St. Kitts & Nevis approved Recognised Security Organisations (RSO's) can be found on our website the RSO will approve the security plan and assessment and perform the onboard verification. After verification, the RSO will issue a short term ISSC, and make the report and copy of the short term certificate available to our Administration. The RSO will later issue a full term ISSC valid for five years subject to the required intermediate verifications.  The ship security plan may not be changed without approval and documenting the change by the CSO. Such approval and documenting shall remain with the security plan.

In addition, where there is a significant change of the plan, such a change must be submitted to the RSO for approval, together with the approval given by the CSO.

Security documents should be retained on board for at least three years or the ten last ports of call whichever comes last. Records of third Party or Internal Security Audits should be retained on board for at least five years.

Port Security, Passage Planning and Piracy

St. Kitts & Nevis requires notification of security threats or incident. We take these to be as follows: bomb threat, threat of use of force, hijack, terrorist attack, piracy or any incident where firearms are involved.

Security details of ports can be found on IMO's "Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) -

When preparing the passage plan or during the process of the voyage, the CSO, Master & Ship Security Officer should take into account any security information/advice received e.g. from our Administration, the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre (, International Maritime Organisation or Regional Security Centres

Areas of high maritime security risk identified should be avoided as much as possible. If the areas cannot be avoided, CSO, Master/SSO should ensure enhancement of onboard security measures in order to minimize any security risk identified.

Shipowners, Managers & Masters should take note of and implement where appropriate, the advice and information contained in the IMO Circulars about Piracy which can be downloaded from the IMO website

If a ship is sailing off the coast of Somalia, the western Indian Ocean and seas close to these areas shipowners, ship operators and managers, shipping companies and shipmasters should:

Our Government will not condone the use of armed guards onboard St. Kitts & Nevis ships.

European Naval Protection Force in Indian Ocean - Anti-Piracy Activities

We have registered our LRIT National Data Centre with the European Naval Protection Force in the Gulf of Aden (EUNAVFOR). This will allow EUNAVFOR to see the position of any of our ships that are sailing in the area of the Gulf of Aden to help deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery. It will greatly improve safety if the vessels voyage was registered with the Maritime Security Centre on the website to facilitate tracking.

If your clients have any questions about this please contact Terry Powell who is our liaison with EUNAVFOR.

Definition of Company & Company Security Officer according to SOLAS

Company means the owner of the ship or any other organisation or person such as the manager, or the bareboat charterer, who has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship from the owner of the ship and who on assuming such responsibility has agreed to take over all the duties and responsibilities imposed by the ISPS & ISM Codes.

Company Security Oficer means the person designated by the Company to:

  1. Ensure that a ship security assessment is carried out
  2. Ensure that a ship security plan is developed, submitted for approval and thereafter implemented and maintained
  3. Act as a liaison between port facility security officers and the ship security officer
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