Security threats, sabotage and acts of terrorism are becoming progressively more advanced throughout the world. The marine industry is seeing increasing piracy attacks on sea vessels globally - and especially off the coast of East Africa, and ports are becoming more vulnerable to threats to national security.
It is, therefore, vital to enhance and optimise the security of ships and port facilities worldwide. Technological advances, particularly leading-edge developments in integrated security systems, are being used to do this.
"Today, technological advances in control, integration and connectivity play an integral role in port security and the protection of ports against national security threats," explained Jaco Cronje, director of EES Africa, an ISO 9001:2008-certified company that provides management, engineering and auditing services, and specialises in the integration of multiple system infrastructures.
"Security systems can no longer be viewed as individual silos, as was previously the case, but it is essential that all security elements are integrated. As such, an integrated security system (ISS) is required. It ensures access to facilities and data is authenticated, authorised and accounted for."
Perceived threats to ships and port facilities
EES project manages the implementation of an ISS solution, which is aligned with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code). The ISPS Code is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities, developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities after the events of September 2001 in the US. The ISS automatically links all security and surveillance activities to the ISPS Code.
"ISS, as the term suggests, provides a multi-layer, multi-system approach to security. Drawing on experience in analysing security risks to clients across multiple sectors, we would identify and recommend a list of security systems to be audited and reported on," said Cronje.
The systems are integrated and combined into a single physical space known as a Security Operations Centre. This room is specially designed to optimise lighting, temperature, air quality, display areas, ergonomics and operations.
The systems include:
CCTV for facial detection, number plate recognition and analytics;
Weighbridges for access control;
Technology supporting mobile security staff;
Intruder alarm systems;
PA systems with full bi-directional audio;
Physical Security Information Management (PSIM);
Port management software;
Visitor management systems; and
Compliance with international codes
In addition to ensuring best safety practices for vessels and people, an ISS ensures compliance with international codes.
Technology alone is not the only solution. EES focuses on the processes required to gain maximum benefit from the security technologies. The human element is still the greatest combat mechanism to security threats.
"Annual audits of the technology, facilities, procedures and skill sets need to be conducted to ensure ports stay competitive in terms of security management," Cronje stated.
He concluded by saying that an experienced security advisory and project management company, skilled in use of the relevant technology, should be appointed to provide the required professional services to manage the implementation of the ISS platform.
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