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Ship Security System failures

US Coast Guard last week issued a marine safety alert about Ship Security Alert Systems, notifying owners and operators of vessels about the critical nature and importance of these systems.

The Coast Guard is aware of a recent Breach of Security on board a vessel overseas where the Ship Security Alert System primary activation button had failed to transmit a Breach of Security message. When the second activation button was depressed, not all the important and critical information was transmitted as it should have been.

Fortunately, in this security failure there were no injuries or deaths but something like this could have easily ended in fatalities or injuries to the crewmembers. The Ship Security Alert System in this case had been serviced just two days before the incident. Records indicate that the technician who performed the testing did not have the right equipment to do so.

The Coast Guard is recommending that a Ship Security Alert System survey always be performed by a fully qualified technician. Among other things, the survey must check if the system complies with IMO standards, that a minimum of two activation points are provided and that the transmission of the security alert can be done without an adjustment of the radio system.