Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
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Marine Transportation Security Regulations (SOR/2004-144)

Regulations are current to 2024-06-19 and last amended on 2014-06-19. Previous Versions

PART 2Vessels (continued)

Declaration of Security

  •  (1) A declaration of security shall be completed before an interface starts between a vessel and a marine facility or another vessel if

    • (a) they are operating at different MARSEC levels;

    • (b) one of them does not have a security plan approved by a contracting government or by a security organization referred to in section 9.2 of Part A of the ISPS Code;

    • (c) the interface involves a cruise ship, a vessel carrying certain dangerous cargoes or the loading or transfer of certain dangerous cargoes; or

    • (d) the security officer of either of them identifies security concerns about the interface.

  • (2) A new declaration of security is required if there is a change in the MARSEC level.

  • (3) The declaration of security shall provide a means for ensuring that all shared security concerns are fully addressed throughout the interface and shall contain the information set out in the form in Appendix 1 of Part B of the ISPS Code, with the terms “ship”, “port facility” and “security measures” read as “vessel”, “marine facility” and “security procedures”, respectively.

  • (4) The declaration of security shall be in English or French and be signed by the vessel security officer and the marine facility security officer or the vessel security officers, as the case may be.

  • (5) A vessel security officer or a marine facility security officer may authorize in writing a person who has security responsibilities on the vessel or marine facility and appropriate training to complete and sign the declaration of security on their behalf.

  • (6) At MARSEC level 1 and MARSEC level 2, a continuing declaration of security may be used for multiple interfaces between a vessel and a marine facility or another vessel if the effective period of the declaration does not exceed

    • (a) 90 days at MARSEC level 1; or

    • (b) 30 days at MARSEC level 2.

  • (7) If a declaration of security is required under subsection (1) between a vessel and the operator of a lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway, it shall be completed on its entry into the first lock and remain in effect until the vessel exits the St. Lawrence Seaway at the St. Lambert Lock or the Welland Canal at Port Colborne.

Vessel Security Assessment


 The persons who conduct a vessel security assessment shall have, collectively, the competence to evaluate the security of the vessel, including knowledge that is relevant to the industry in which the vessel operates, in the following areas:

  • (a) current security threats and patterns;

  • (b) the detection and recognition of weapons, explosives and incendiaries and other dangerous substances and devices;

  • (c) the recognition of the characteristics and behavioural patterns of persons who are likely to threaten security;

  • (d) techniques that might be used to violate security procedures or to circumvent security procedures, equipment or systems;

  • (e) methods used to cause a security incident;

  • (f) the effects of dangerous substances and devices on vessels and their equipment;

  • (g) vessel security requirements;

  • (h) vessel-to-vessel and vessel-to-marine facility interface business practices;

  • (i) emergency preparedness and response and contingency planning;

  • (j) physical security requirements;

  • (k) radio and telecommunications systems, including computer systems and networks;

  • (l) marine engineering; and

  • (m) vessel and marine facility operations.

Security Assessment Information

 The company security officer shall ensure that the following security assessment information is provided to persons who conduct the on-site survey and vessel security assessment:

  • (a) the general layout of the vessel, including the location of

    • (i) actual and potential points of access to the vessel and their function,

    • (ii) areas that should have restricted access,

    • (iii) essential maintenance equipment,

    • (iv) stowage and cargo spaces, including storage areas for essential maintenance equipment, ships’ stores, cargo and unaccompanied baggage, and

    • (v) ships’ stores;

  • (b) security threat assessments, including the purpose and methodology of the assessment, for the area in which the vessel operates or at which passengers embark or disembark and the types of cargo being carried by the vessel;

  • (c) a copy of any previous security assessment prepared for the vessel;

  • (d) a list of the emergency and stand-by equipment available to maintain essential services;

  • (e) changes in the tide that might have an impact on the vulnerability or security of the vessel;

  • (f) the number of vessel personnel, the security duties of persons with security responsibilities and existing security training requirements;

  • (g) a list of existing security and safety equipment for the protection of personnel, visitors and passengers;

  • (h) details of escape and evacuation routes and assembly stations that have to be maintained to ensure the orderly and safe emergency evacuation of the vessel;

  • (i) copies of existing agreements with persons or organizations that provide security services; and

  • (j) details of security procedures in effect, including inspection and access control procedures, identification systems, surveillance and monitoring equipment, personnel identification documents, communication, alarm, lighting, access control and other security systems.

On-site Survey

 The company security officer shall ensure that an on-site survey of the vessel is conducted that examines and evaluates protective measures, procedures and operations in effect on board the vessel to

  • (a) ensure the performance of all vessel security duties;

  • (b) control access to the vessel through the use of identification systems or otherwise;

  • (c) control the embarkation of vessel personnel and other persons and their goods, including personal effects and baggage, whether accompanied or unaccompanied;

  • (d) supervise the handling of cargo and the delivery of ships’ stores;

  • (e) monitor restricted areas and other areas that have restricted access to ensure that only authorized persons have access;

  • (f) monitor the deck areas and areas adjacent to the vessel; and

  • (g) ensure the ready availability of security communication systems, information and equipment.

Analysis and Recommendations

 The persons who conduct a vessel security assessment shall take into account the security assessment information, the on-site survey and the requirements of this Part and provide recommendations for security procedures that shall be established in the vessel security plan, including recommendations respecting

  • (a) restricted areas;

  • (b) response procedures for fire or other emergency conditions;

  • (c) security supervision of all persons on board;

  • (d) the frequency and effectiveness of security patrols;

  • (e) access control systems, including identification systems;

  • (f) security communication systems and procedures;

  • (g) security doors, barriers and lighting;

  • (h) security and surveillance equipment and systems;

  • (i) potential security threats and the following types of security incidents:

    • (i) damage to, or destruction of, the vessel or an interfacing marine facility or vessel by explosive devices, arson, sabotage or vandalism,

    • (ii) tampering with the essential equipment or systems, stores or cargo of the vessel,

    • (iii) the unauthorized access to or use of the vessel, including the presence of stowaways,

    • (iv) the smuggling on board of weapons, explosives, incendiaries or other dangerous substances or devices, including weapons of mass destruction,

    • (v) the use of the vessel or its equipment as a weapon or as a means to cause damage or destruction,

    • (vi) the hijacking or seizure of the vessel or persons on board, and

    • (vii) attacks on the vessel while at berth, at anchor or at sea; and

  • (j) the evaluation of the potential of each identified point of access, including open decks, that could be used by individuals who might try to breach security, whether or not those individuals legitimately have access to the vessel.


  •  (1) The vessel security assessment shall be written in English or French and shall contain

    • (a) a summary of how the on-site survey was conducted;

    • (b) details of existing security procedures and operations;

    • (c) a description of each vulnerability found during the assessment;

    • (d) a description of security procedures that should be used to address each vulnerability;

    • (e) a list of the key vessel operations that are important to protect;

    • (f) conclusions as to the likelihood of possible security threats to key vessel operations; and

    • (g) a list of identified weaknesses, including human factors, in the infrastructure, policies and procedures relating to the vessel.

  • (2) A vessel security assessment shall address the following elements in respect of the vessel:

    • (a) its physical security;

    • (b) its structural integrity;

    • (c) personnel protection systems;

    • (d) security procedures;

    • (e) its radio and telecommunication systems, including computer systems and networks; and

    • (f) any other element on board the vessel that might, if damaged or used illicitly, pose a risk to people, property or operations on board the vessel or at a marine facility.

  • (3) The vessel security assessment shall consider the security of all persons and the activities, services, operations, capacities and goods that are important to protect, including

    • (a) the capacity to maintain safe navigation and emergency response;

    • (b) cargo, particularly dangerous goods or substances;

    • (c) ships’ stores;

    • (d) the vessel’s security communication and surveillance systems, if any; and

    • (e) any other security systems on the vessel.

  • (4) The vessel security assessment shall take into account all possible vulnerabilities, including those resulting from

    • (a) any conflict between safety and security requirements;

    • (b) any conflict between duties on board and security assignments;

    • (c) the impact of watchkeeping duties and fatigue on vessel personnel alertness and performance;

    • (d) security training deficiencies;

    • (e) deficiencies in security equipment and systems, including communication systems; and

    • (f) the fact that the vessel was not subject to this Part before the start of an international voyage.

  • SOR/2014-162, s. 23

Vessel Security Plan


  •  (1) A vessel security plan shall

    • (a) state the name of the vessel’s operator;

    • (b) identify the company security officer by name or, if they hold another position, by position, and provide 24-hour contact information;

    • (c) in the case of vessel entitled to fly the Canadian flag, be written in English or French;

    • (d) be based on the vessel security assessment;

    • (e) address each vulnerability identified in the vessel security assessment;

    • (f) establish that the vessel’s master has the overriding authority and responsibility to make decisions with respect to the security of the vessel and to request the assistance of the operator or contracting government when necessary; and

    • (g) identify the locations of the vessel security alert system activation points.

  • (2) The vessel security plan shall address the following:

    • (a) procedures designed to prevent weapons, explosives, incendiaries, dangerous substances and devices that are intended for use against persons, vessels or marine facilities and whose carriage is not authorized from being taken on board the vessel;

    • (b) procedures for the prevention of unauthorized access to the vessel that include the security procedures set out in sections 236 to 239 and, if applicable, sections 260 and 264;

    • (c) procedures for the establishment of restricted areas as provided for in section 240;

    • (d) procedures for preventing unauthorized access to restricted areas that include the security procedures set out in sections 241 to 243;

    • (e) procedures for cargo handling and for ships’ stores and bunkers that include the security procedures set out in sections 244 to 251;

    • (f) procedures for monitoring the vessel, the restricted areas on board the vessel and the area surrounding the vessel that include the security procedures set out in sections 252 to 255;

    • (g) procedures for responding to security threats, security breaches and security incidents, including provisions for maintaining critical operations of the vessel or for vessel and marine facility interfacing, that include the security procedures set out in section 256;

    • (h) procedures for responding to any security instructions a contracting government may give at MARSEC level 3 in respect of a specific security threat;

    • (i) other security procedures for each MARSEC level;

    • (j) procedures for evacuation in case of security threats, security breaches or security incidents;

    • (k) duties of shipboard personnel assigned security responsibilities and of other shipboard personnel on security related matters;

    • (l) procedures for auditing the security activities;

    • (m) procedures for training, drills and exercises associated with the plan;

    • (n) procedures for interfacing with marine facilities and other vessels at all MARSEC levels;

    • (o) procedures for declarations of security;

    • (p) procedures for the periodic review of the plan and for updating it;

    • (q) procedures for reporting security incidents;

    • (r) procedures to ensure the inspection, testing, calibration and maintenance of any security equipment on board;

    • (s) the frequency for testing or calibration of any security equipment on board;

    • (t) the frequency of inspections of the vessel;

    • (u) procedures, instructions and guidance on the use of the vessel security alert system, including its testing, activation, deactivation and resetting and how to limit false alerts;

    • (v) procedures to facilitate shore leave for vessel personnel or crew change;

    • (w) procedures for overcoming any vulnerability resulting from the fact referred to in paragraph 233(4)(f); and

    • (x) procedures to be followed when the vessel becomes subject to this Part and when it ceases to be subject to this Part.

  • SOR/2014-162, ss. 24, 101(E)


 The vessel security plan shall include the following individual sections and, if the plan does not list the sections in the following order, it shall contain an index that identifies the location of the sections:

  • (a) organizational structure for the security of the vessel;

  • (b) personnel training;

  • (c) drills and exercises;

  • (d) records and documentation;

  • (e) response to a change in the MARSEC level;

  • (f) procedures for interfacing with marine facilities and other vessels;

  • (g) declarations of security;

  • (h) communications;

  • (i) security systems and equipment maintenance;

  • (j) security procedures for access control;

  • (k) security procedures for restricted areas;

  • (l) security procedures for handling cargo;

  • (m) security procedures for delivery of ships’ stores and bunkers;

  • (n) security procedures for monitoring;

  • (o) procedures for security threats, security breaches and security incidents;

  • (p) audits and vessel security plan amendments; and

  • (q) vessel security assessment summary.

  • SOR/2014-162, s. 101(E)

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