BALEARIC ports are already applying some of the strict new safety measures due to come into force on July 1, to combat the threat of terrorism.
The measures were divised after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, and their objective is to protect passengers, crew, cargo and vessels from possible terrorist attacks, using similar methods to those currently in force at airports.
Joan Verger, chairman of the Port Authority, said yesterday that with more than a month to go before the measures become obligatory, the Balearic ports are already controlling passenger arrivals and luggage on cruise ships.
The Port Authority is currently evaluating the risks at ports, and this report will be completed within ten days.
It will form the basis of the obligatory protection plan, deemed necessary to combat the sitution of insecurity created by terrorist attacks around the world.
Verger warned that the cost of putting the plan into operation would be very high, as very complex mechanisms have to be installed.
For the time being, the measures will not have to be applied to the crossing between Ibiza and Formentera, although Verger said that he was in favour of introducing it.
He also asked passengers to be patient with the measures and pointed out that they were for their benefit.
The regulations will be applied in 137 countries from July 1 and will affect cruise liners and international routes. It will not be applied to national routes operating in the Balearics until summer next year.
Verger explained that the international code for the protection of ships and port installations will be obligatory for ships covering the North Africa and South of France routes to Palma.
THE NEW REGULATIONS
The main points in the new regulations are as follows:
1. All ships will be obliged to comply with the new ISPS security regulations from July 1, with passenger and baggage controls prior to boarding similar to those at airports and passenger access to Captain and senior officers will be restricted.
2. Companies responsible for the ships will be obliged to provide security information to all ferry users, and adopt a series of measures to guarantee a peaceful trip.
3. They will have to comply with a series of measures such as giving safety instructions to passengers (images, sound, printed, at least in the local language and English), clearly mark the emergency exits and security devices, maintain said devices and regularly repair any defects in rescue equipment.
4. Regularly replace whistles, life jackets and buoys, not obstruct emergency exits in order to guarantee separation between first and second class, not tie down lifeboats because of wind, and not keep fire doors open deliberately to facilitate movement.
5. Ensure that cargo is secure and heavy vehicles, trailers and coaches are always secured with more than two chains.
6. The crew must carry out emergency drills under real conditions on a regular basis.
7. The shipping companies must ensure that the crews can communicate sufficiently with passengers who speak a different language.
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