Security within national transportation systems

At the Annual General Assembly of the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU), held from the 17th to 19th October in Barcelona, Spain, Flotilla admiral Boyan Mednikarov, Prof. DSc, Capt (N) Nedko Dimitrov, PhD and CDR Valentin Vasilev, assist. prof. PhD of the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy, Varna, Bulgaria, presented a paper on the security analysis of the national maritime transportation system as part of the maritime critical infrastructures

The authors analyzed Bulgarian legislation in the maritime security domain and the national maritime transportation system in order to determine the bodies and their functions that worked for the se curity of the shipping and to look for a way for improvement. The authors’ thesis was that, when common standards for security environment were established, then the control of the security processes in the regional aspect and crisis management in the security domain would become easier and more effective.

The IMO Concept of a sustainable maritime transportation system determines its elements and the way in which favourable conditions can be created to maintain a sustainable system state. This concept recognizes the international maritime transport system as a mechanism for global trade economic growth and sustainable development. One of the key elements of the ‘Maritime transport activity’ area is Security. In a theoretical sense, the term “security” is associated with the “risk” and “protection” categories. Bulgaria has adopted own national legislation on the subject, synchronizing it with the relevant international requirements at IMO and EU level. The element of physical security is replaced by operational safety.

Normally, the term “maritime security” describes distinctive unique characteristics of the maritime environment. It is used in official documents by the IMO and relates to the security of the maritime transportation system, port facilities and offshore infrastructure. It concerns a system`s resilience to withstand against transboundary aggression, terrorist activities and other deliberate destructive impacts. It could be defined as a combination of preventive measures aimed at protecting shipping and port facilities against illegal threat.

There are discrepancies between linguistic representation and the meaning of the term. For instance, in the official translation into Bulgarian of this Regulation, published on the Executive Agency Maritime Administration website, the term “maritime security” in the definition is replaced by “maritime safety”. The analogous analysis of the term “maritime safety” links it to the protection of human life, the marine environment and property in the maritime environment from unintended direct or collateral impacts. Tendentious or not, an incorrect definition is created. It directs efforts to ensure only the safety of the Maritime transportation. In addition, the document creates confusion due to the use of the two terms, both safety and security, in the same context.

The Strategy for Development of the Transport Infrastructure of the Republic of Bulgaria carried out an analysis of the national infrastructure and outlined the directions for the development of the sector. It noted that there was “insufficient security in ports”. In the National port development programme inland waterways and ports of the Republic of Bulgaria it is only stated that the analysis of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) suggested “improving security and safety systems in ports” as an “opportunity”.

The authors said that “actually, the notion of security does not appear in the “weaknesses” or “threats” sections”.

Sustainability of the Transportation system in Bulgaria was considered to be one of baseline requirements for resilience after The Warsaw Summit Resilience Commitment held in July 2016.

On the one hand, the establishment and management of modern national maritime transportation system that meets both national and European requirements is an important national priority in Bulgaria. The Government was actively involved in this process, striving to harmonize national legislation with EU norms and creating favourable conditions for the development of the sector.

On the other hand, researchers and developers of maritime safety regulations were handling a conceptual apparatus that did not provide a homogeneous understanding of categories, their scope and compliance on national and European level.

So, introducing ship`s or port facility`s security plans would be a progressive step towards creating a favourable environment for the functioning of a National maritime transportation system`s elements.

Threat detection, neutralization, incident response and recovery activities are currently performed locally, within the established organization on a national and regional scale, through the forces and resources of different competent governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations.

The authors said that “the management of these activities should be inter institutional in structural aspect, local in spatial aspect, continuous, and sustainable in functional aspect in order to be effective”.

Dividing the crisis management process into three phases – prevention, reaction and recovery – in the preventative action phase all the activities of accurate risk prediction and precise risk analysis would be implemented, followed by control of the technical parameters of the infrastructure s aspect it is appropriate to apply a comprehensive system approach for analyzes on a relevant scale   global, national, and regional.

The authors saw the National maritime transportation infrastructures as part of the National Critical Infrastructure system.

The authors concluded that the maritime transportation system, in terms of infrastructure security, should be treated as part of the national critical infrastructure system. The security in the framework of the National Critical Infrastructure system is interpreted as a dynamic balance between potential threats and the protection measures against them.

By applying an integrated approach, the adoption of uniform standards for security assessment, methodologically and expertly provided by the Bulgarian Army (Navy) together with Coast Guard and emergency services, will ensure the planning and achievement of an adequate level of security in the current environment for the maritime transportation infrastructures operation.