ISO 28007 Converts to Full International Standard

ISO 28007 Converts to Full International Standard

The 2015 April issue of The Bridge, features RTI’s Alain Schembri and the development of ISO 28007.  The Bridge is a SAMI publication on Maritime Security.

In March of this year the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) announced that the ISO/PAS 28007 would convert to a full international standard designated as ISO 28007 – 1:2015. In this article Alain Schembri of RTI looks at the evolution of the standard. The development of ISO 28007 marks one of the fastest ISO standards to be produced, illustrating how far this unique industry has matured over recent years and just how important the role of professionally trained armed guards are within the international shipping community.

Whilst the standard has not yet eliminated all other national accreditation requirements, it has most certainly become recognised as the leading benchmark standard by which PMSCs are measured. latest figures indicate that 48 PMSCs are currently certified to ISO 28007 with more to follow, representing a third of the market.

Times have certainly changed since 2010 when the maritime industry regarded PMSCs to some extent with suspicion and distrust. PMSCs were often selected on very scanty and unverified information with a general misunderstanding of what exactly was required from a PMSC.

Many leading PMSCs developed in-house quality control management systems born from a combination of military, shipping and business experience, defining their reputations as companies that were ‘doing it right’. In a rapidly developing sector with increasing competition, it was difficult to independently verify a company’s fitness to trade in such a legally complex market. The industry identified early on the need for an independent criterion and created the ISO 28007 in four short years through the development of the IMO guidelines, BIMCO Guardcon, SAMI & SCEG’s working groups and other key stakeholders.

Maritime security is arguably one of the most complex business services to deliver, even more so if you are ‘doing it right’, so how do you know who is?

Operating a complex supply chain of personnel, and equipment across international locations, with intricate local jurisdictions is a challenge for any business. The addition of firearms on board vessels with it’s myriad of legislation and it becomes an even larger concern. Managing this supply chain requires extremely robust management systems and a breakdown in any one area can lead to catastrophic consequences. This is where ISO 28000 provides a high level management standard that enables a PMSC to establish an overall security supply chain management system.

Whilst the industry now sees the use of armed guards on vessels almost as “normal” we must not forget the inherent risks from having them there in the first place. The ISO 28007 – 1:2015 accreditation addresses 42 separate subjects over 24 pages, and its this depth of the standard which is precisely why it works so well. But it is not just about identifying a suitable PMSC for commercial reasons, it is the raising and maintaining of safety, legal and compliance standards across the the industry as a whole and reducing the associated risks. We will most likely see a further acceptance across the shipping and associated maritime industries, as the insurance market continues to recognise the certification and makes the inevitable allowances.

At RTI we have found that companies have responded extremely well to the certification process with an appetite to embrace the standard and make it work for them. Our three stage approach to the ISO 28007 certification along with the use and feedback from highly experienced Master Mariner auditors, supported by managers with PMSC management experience, enables clients to review and make them more robust and efficient. Having completed the 1st year surveillance audits of the companies from the initial pilot programme it is clear, they have all continued to develop, moving towards integrated management systems for all their ISO standards and have benefited from involving all their staff in the process from CEO to PCASP. This has helped some organisations realise cost savings from rationalised management systems an reduce insurance costs for others.

Bowline Defence Limited recognised the significance of ISO PAS 28007 from the outset, as the benchmark by which PMSCs would be measured:

“We were delighted to be selected to participate in the Pilot Scheme” said Nick Gasson of Bowline Defence, “and have recently completed our first annual surveillance audit from RTI. We consider the demands of ISO PAS 28007 necessary and an ideal hygiene check to ensure that all systems and procedures are fit for purpose. Holding the ISO has enhanced our confidence by allowing us constantly to monitor and self-assess our work; we are a better and more efficient company as a result , something that has not gone unnoticed by our clientele. Throughout the process, including under audit, we have been impressed by the deep knowledge, scrupulous professionalism, and constructive approach of RTI, who we recommend without reservation.”