Safety and security on passenger ferries operating in and out of Balearic and all Spanish ports is to be greatly increased. The decision that all ferries operating between Spanish ports will have to fully comply with the new security and safety measures approved by the International Maritime Organisation was taken by central government yesterday. Apart from tightened security on board ships and in ports in the European Union, the International Maritime Organisation has been looking at ten key areas, all of which improvements and changes will have to be made on board. The areas for attention include collision and grounding, equipment failure, escape, evacuation and rescue, fire safety, search and rescue and evacuation. In short, ferries have to become lifeboats in themselves with areas of safe haven where passengers can head and await rescue while passenger ships should always be able to proceed to port at a minimum safe speed. The International Maritime Organisation however wants ships to be equipped with effective life saving equipment and appliances that are designed for survival at sea. Where possible, some passenger ships will have helicopter pads added and a much greater level of regular communications between passenger ships and port authorities is being encouraged. The safety and security shake ups match those being carried out on commercial planes and at airports in an attempt to prevent passenger ferries being targeted by terrorists.