After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, all transport modes have been led to strengthen their security measures.

The International Ship and Port facility Security code (ISPS code) was approved by IMO on 12 December 2002 and annexed to the SOLAS1 Convention.
Its provisions form the international framework through which the vessels and port facilities can cooperate to detect and prevent the acts threatening security in the field of shipping.
The scope of concerns includes the illicit transport of goods, illegal immigration and the malevolent actions under common law, but terrorist actions explain the main part of the security instructions, defined by three levels of measures on board vessels and in port facilities. 

Code ISPSIn order to guarantee the security of the European Community maritime transport, the European Parliament and the Council approved the regulation 725/2004 of 31 March 2004 which mainly aims at setting up and implementing EC measures in order to improve security for the ships used in international trade and home traffic and the related port facilities, against deliberate illicit actions.
The enforcement of the ISPS code becomes compulsory in all ports in July 2004. The application of certain recommendations of Part B of the ISPS code becomes compulsory within the Community to homogeneously contribute to the completion of the security objective. 

The directive of the European Parliament and the Council 2005/65/EC of 26 October 2005 completes these demands at port level with the objective of improving and strengthening the measures against offence to security. It introduces the notion of a sensitive port area, of port security authority and port security officer in charge of working out a scheme based upon an assessment of security approved by the ‘Département’ (county) prefect.

In order to implement the prescriptions of the ISPS code and the European security regulations, the French government has drawn up several orders stating the enforcement procedures. Decrees state again or explain certain provisions for all parties concerned.

The decrees 2007-476 of 29 March 2007 and 2009-876 of 17 July 2009 altered the chapter III of the maritime port code concerning the security of maritime transport and port operations; the first one involving the local committees of port security, the approved security organisations, the port security assessments and plans, the restricted access areas; the second one involving the police of seaports, the police of water surfaces and the police of highways. 

The European Commission carries out inspections with a view to check the application of the EC regulations 725/2004 and the Directive 2005/65/EC at the level of each member State, of ports and port facilities.

In France, the General Division for Infrastructure, Transport and the Sea (DGITM in French) is the competent authority as defined in the article 2.7 of the (CE) Regulations 725/2004. In connection with the Division of Transport Services (DST in French) which works out a security policy for maritime transport, the Department of Security in Transport (DSûT) took back again the assignments of the Security Defence Mission (MSD) in 2011. The DSûT organises audits in ports and port facilities in order to determine if they are compliant with the ISPS code and the European and national regulations.

Maritime safety means:

  • prevention of accident risks and fight against fires, whatever their origin, on board vessels or in ports, 
  • prevention against pollutions and rescue of people and property during accidents,
    - it is the responsibility of the firemen, the Emergency Services (SAMU), etc.

Maritime security means:

  • prevention and fight against any illicit action (terrorism, malevolence) towards the ship, the crew and passengers, the shipment or towards port facilities,
  • protection of people and property (seafarers, staff, crew, ships, shipment, goods, port equipment, buildings, etc.).
    - it is the responsibility of the police or gendarmerie, DCRI (National Intelligence Service), etc.

1International Convention in 1974 for the safety of human life at sea


The port of Rouen includes about thirty port facilities compliant with ISPS regulations, distributed from upstream the Seine estuary over 120 km. They are fenced and watched.

A security officer is appointed for each port facility (PFSO) and agreed by the Prefect of the  Seine-Maritime area. He defines a security plan (PFSP), the conditions of access to the zones under his responsibility.

The actions of port facility security officers (PFSO) are coordinated by a port security officer (PSO) appointed by the Grand Port Maritime de Rouen (GPMR) and agreed by the Prefect of the Seine-Maritime area. The PSO updates and implements the port security plan (PSP) founded upon an assessment of security in the sensitive port zone.

Restricted access areas (ZAR in French) are defined in the port facilities dedicated to passenger vessels, to oil- and gas-tankers and containerships. They are fenced, watched and their access is subject to control according to the procedures defined by their PFSOs in security plans.