International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 4
Number 3
September 2010
Security in maritime transportation is one of the fo-
cal issues of maritime interests. This dilemma re-
quires setting critical measures and initiatives, which
should effectively be designed and implemented. In
this case, the consequences of security improve-
ments are also beneficial to service quality and busi-
ness performance in international shipping (Thai,
To provide a standardized framework for imple-
menting security precautions and to control the po-
tential risks for ships and port facilities, practicing of
an international ship and port facility security (ISPS)
code was initiated by the International Maritime Or-
ganization (IMO) (Hesse & Charalambous, 2004;
King, 2005). The ISPS code establishes cooperation
between government agencies and the shipping and
port industries in perception of security threats and
preventing security incidents affecting ships in ports
(Mensah, 2004). The implementation of the ISPS
code necessitates following well-designed proce-
dures to capture most of the probable risky situations
in a quick response. Thus, it requires both flexible
and consistent plans to overcome all those unex-
pected circumstances (Tzannatos, 2003).
The aim of this paper is to delineate the current
implementation procedure of the ISPS Code at con-
tainer terminals. Specifically, cognitive mapping ap-
proach is utilized to model the industrial feedbacks
about the shortcomings of the ISPS Code. Conse-
quently, a simple representation of the raised prob-
lems in ISPS Code practice is graphically demon-
2.1 Cognitive mapping
Cognitive mapping is the task of delineation a per-
son’s thinking about a problem or issue. Initially,
Tolman (1948) introduced the fundamental princi-
ples, which have been referred as guidelines for
cognitive psychology research. A cognitive map ap-
proach ensures participations of the decision mak-
ers’ motivation through creative decision-making. In
addition, it is an active tool, which allows modifica-
tion of dynamic attributes in problem environment in
accordance with the prior settings and goal.
The structure of a cognitive map mainly captures
causal dependencies (Srinivas & Shekar, 1997),
thereto; it also provides a graphical representation of
different problem cases (Axelrod, 1976; Eden,
1990). In problem construction stage, a node repre-
sents the concepts while a number of arcs schema-
tize existing directional relationships among these
nodes. Symbolical representation of links is settled
using a unidirectional arrow. A statement at the tail
of an arrow is taken to cause, or influence, the
statement at the arrowhead. According to the casual
relation type among concepts (represented by
nodes), a minus/plus sign is located on the arrows.
Since it provides satisfactory solutions to many
case studies, cognitive maps have been applied sev-
Assessment of ISPS Code Compliance at Ports
Using Cognitive Maps
M. Celik & Y. Ilker Topcu
Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
ABSTRACT: International ship and port facility security (ISPS) Code was developed by the International
Maritime Organization (IMO) as an execution framework to ensure high level of security measures applicable
to ships and port facilities. Besides contributions of ISPS Code towards security improvement, additional bu-
reaucracy (i.e. documentation, certification, training, expenses etc.) and serious shortfalls have appeared dur-
ing implementation process. This paper explores the ISPS Code practice at ports based on cognitive mapping
approach. The outcomes of this research can be proposed to international maritime authorities in order to en-
hance the existing concept and regulatory compliances of the ISPS Code in respect to industrial feedback.
eral eras in literature (Kitchin & Freundschuh,
2.2 Linking up with ISPS Code Practice at Ports
The previous subchapter was intended to provide an
introduction to cognitive mapping. Whereupon, it is
an onerous task to comply a decision analysis model
with serious shortfalls in ISPS Code implementa-
tions. In detailed model construction, the mostly en-
countered problems regarding with regulatory com-
pliances of ISPS Code requirements onboard ships
are represented via nodes. The decision analysis
aims at achieving two points: (1) Clarifying the cas-
ual relations and effects among shortfalls from ship
operators’ perspective, (2) Formulating further strat-
egies to revise ISPS Code.
3.1 ISPS Code
The ISPS Code consists of two parts. Part A is man-
datory. It contains detailed security related require-
ments for governments, port authorities, and ship-
ping companies. Part B contains a serious of
guidelines about how to meet these requirements.
Furthermore, the conference adopted a number of
resolutions, in order to facilitate the implementation
and the application of those security measures to
ships and port facilities. Table 1 outlines the manda-
tory requirements of the ISPS Code.
Table 1. Mandatory requirements of ISPS Code
Section 1 General
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Objectives
1.3 Functional requirements
Section 2 Definitions
Section 3 Application
Section 4 Responsibilities of Contracting Governments
Section 5 Declaration of Security
Section 6 Obligations of the Company
Section 7 Ship Security
Section 8 Ship Security Assessment (SSA)
Section 9 Ship Security Plan (SSP)
Section 10 Records
Section 11 Company Security Officer (CSO)
Section 12 Ship Security Officer (SSO)
Section 13 Training, Drills and Exercises on Ship Security
Section 14 Port Facility Security
Section 15 Port Facility Security Assessment
Section 16 Port Facility Security Plan
Section 17 Port Facility Security Officer
Section 18 Training and Drills on Port Facility Security
Section 19 Verification and Certification
19.1 Verifications
19.2 Issue or endorsement of certificate
19.3 Duration and validity of certificate
19.4 Interim certification
3.2 Feedbacks from Maritime Industry
Industrial feedbacks and technical reports on ISPS
Code-related concerns affecting ships are essential
to identify and address the probable problems, which
may arise. At this insight, the common idea focuses
on excessive pressure of expectations regarding with
the ISPS Code. Sometimes, those limitations create
some trading disadvantages and operational con-
straints for merchant ships. Especially, the following
items are highlighted about security related matters,
which affect the operations of merchant ships (ICS,
Additional information demands from port state
inspector such as security plan, disclosure, etc.
Availability of ongoing problems in respect of the
continuous synopsis record, records of training,
and drills.
Excessive attitudes of port state control (PSC) of-
ficers such as use/display of firearms, crew inter-
rogation, aggressive attitudes, placing armed
guards, refusal of access to shore facilities/shore
Maritime security (MARSEC) level incompatibil-
ity between ship and port facility.
Problems over agreement on a declaration of se-
Excessive information demands before entering
port, current and historical information (e.g. port,
customs, and immigration).
Problems caused by trading history (previous
calls at non-compliant port facilities, previous
ownership or flag).
Limitations on access control issues such as iden-
tification (requested/provided), manning access
points, searching visitors, accompanying visitors,
securing waterside access, access to ships for es-
sential visitors.
Establishment of restricted areas on board and
ashore and securing access to them (e.g. bridge,
engine room, accommodation).
Monitoring of deck patrols, landward and sea-
ward monitoring.
Use of additional security equipments such as au-
tomatic identification system (AIS) and ship se-
curity alert system.
Considering security measures for storing of any
delivered spares and provisions.
Additional supervision requirements and integrity
in cargo related operations.
Commercial consequences of delay, detention, re-
fusal of entry or departure, and additional inspec-
Time constraints to correct the perceived ship se-
curity deficiencies.
3.3 Cognitive Map Construction on Shortfalls of
ISPS Code Implementation
Following the industrial feedbacks, representation of
the implementation shortfalls of the ISM Code based
on a cognitive map structure is constructed in re-
spect to the following dimensions: (i) Goal, (ii) Var-
iables, (iii) Casual relationships among the variables.
The goal is predefined as “How can we achieve the
regulatory compliances of the ISPS Code in respect
to industrial feedback?” On the other hand, the vari-
ables, which include both shortfalls and key imple-
mentation items of ISPS Code, are given as follows:
: Additional information demand
: Excessive workload onboard
: Immigration bureaucracy
: Port custom facilities
: Security plan
: Drill and training records
: Use of security equipment
: Manning of access points
: Securing waterside access
: Essential visitors’ control
: Securing restricted areas
: Excessive attitudes of PSC officers
: Crew fatigue and stress
: Commercial consequences of detentions
: Refusal of entry or departure
: Time constraints at port period
: MARSEC level incompatibility
It is the next issue to define existing casual rela-
tionships in three different forms:
(i) Positive (+)
(ii) Negative (-)
(iii) No relationships (0)
At this insight, the casual relationships among the
variables can be beneficial to formulate enhance-
ment strategies through ISPS Code implementation
at ports. Those strategies might include an integrated
action plan, combined execution of excessive proce-
dures based on a unique scheme, elimination of un-
necessary issues, and other countermeasures. Table
2 addressed the construction of a square matrix in-
cluding all concepts related to ISPS Code implemen-
Table 2. Square matrix of concepts
Furthermore, in Figure 1 schematizes the focused
problem in accordance with the cognitive mapping
principals. Broadly, two kinds of concept are de-
fined: implementation shortfalls (V
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
) and regular items (V
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
). The blue lines show the
positive casual relation (+) while the lines with red
colour indicate the negative casual relation (-).
Figure 1. Cognitive mapping of ISPS Code implementation
It is the final stage of this approach to transform
those relations into useful information to enhance
ISPS Code implementation. In this progress, all the
negative effects against routine implementation
items, in addition, positive relations that increase the
degree of implementation shortfalls should be elimi-
To quantitatively support this stage, centrality
value for each concept can be guided. Centrality of a
concept is a measure in application of cognitive
mapping approach. Centrality means a reference
point to indicate the importance of a concept in a
map (Eden et al., 1992). To compute the centrality,
the row/column sums of the absolute values (means
the direction of the links is ignored) of existing rela-
tions are principally considered. Table 3 gives the
computed centrality values for each concept of the
problem at hand.
Table 3. Centrality values for concepts
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
, V
According to the initial findings, time constraints
at port period are appeared as the most significant
matter in ISPS practice at ports. Hence, the relevant
maritime authorities need to reduce time-consuming
requirements of ISPS Code. To do so, the centrality
values and the proposed network in Figure 1 can col-
laboratively be utilized. Just to name a few under-
lined issues in detail, the current procedures for se-
curity plan and essential visitors’ control can be
revised. Relevance to ensure collaboration between
maritime shareholders, the compliances between
MARSEC levels for ships and port authorities need
to be rearranged. In addition, the influences of ex-
pectations from shipboard personnel, which increase
the crew fatigue and stress, should clearly be elimi-
nated. In respect to the centrality values of concepts,
a number of enhancement strategies with priorities
towards ISPS Code practice at ports can be suggest-
ed to maritime authorities.
Ensuring regulatory compliances with participations
of different shareholders in maritime industry is one
the focal issue. An effective maritime legislation ex-
tremely depends upon the consensus among the
market players and relevant international authorities.
Specifically, this paper mainly deals with exploring
the potential influences of the ISPS code practice at
marine ports. Hereto, a number of industrial feed-
backs on ISPS practice at ports, which pictures a so-
cio-technical phenomenon, are gathered. To solve
this kind of dilemmas, analytical techniques are gen-
erally inadequate for dealing with interrelationships
or causalities among a set of individual and social
concepts. Instead, this paper used cognitive maps to
cope with this type of causalities. It underlined some
hints to support probable revision efforts on ISPS
Code from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. The pro-
posed decision analysis based on a cognitive map-
ping approach ensured an invaluable findings and
straightforward roadmap for the further studies on
enhancement of maritime security.
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