Republic of the Marshall Islands changes the handling of SSAS transmissions

Based on RMI’s latest RMI-SSAdvisory-handling-of-SSAS-transmissions-2017_01 which revokes SSA #11-16 ,

effective 01 April 2017, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator (the “Administrator”) will no longer receive SSAS alerts directly from any vessel. The Administrator’s new policy will instead provide for the Company or a Company-designated qualified third party, to serve as the Competent Authority to receive and verify SSAS transmissions.

This policy change will allow the Company or the Company-designated, qualified third party to acknowledge and respond to all test messages directly, ensuring the proper functioning of SSAS equipment and verifying the accuracy of the transmitted data without the need for acknowledgement of receipt by the Administrator.

This reserves Administrator involvement to only those SSAS transmissions that are real, which are to be immediately forwarded by the Company to the RMI Duty Officer. Third party Competent Authorities must not contact the Administrator directly.
See Flowchart in Appendix I of SHIP SECURITY ADVISORY No. #01-17.

Reprogramming of the SSAS Unit
Companies must ensure that the SSAS unit is reprogrammed so that alerts are only transmitted to the Company-designated Competent Authority. This means that the Administrator’s email address (“Y6Z…”) must be removed from the unit’s program settings and replaced with that of the Company-designated Competent Authority (internal appointee and/or external third party service).

It is recommended that a radio service technician is contacted so that reprogramming of the SSAS unit can be scheduled at a convenient time, possibly along with other routine service, rather than waiting until 01 April 2017, the date for this policy change.

Revisions to the Ship Security Plan and ISPS Code Verification
Companies must ensure that only real alerts are immediately forwarded to the RMI Duty Officer by the CSO so the Administrator may fulfill its duties required by SOLAS Regulation XI-2/6.
Revisions to the Ship’s Security Plan (SSP) should be made as may be required. Any changes to the SSP resulting from this change in policy will not require special approval by the Recognized Security Organization (RSO). Initial testing of the new SSAS settings is to be conducted successfully with the Company-designated Competent Authority and documented for the RSO’s review during the next scheduled ISPS Code verification audit.
If a vessel has completed reprogramming of the SSAS (as per §2.0) prior to 01 April 2017, live SSAS test alert acknowledgement by the Administrator is not required. If SSAS reprogramming has already taken place, only the Company-designated Competent Authority is required to acknowledge receipt of an SSAS test alert during an ISPS Code verification audit. If SSAS reprogramming has not yet been completed, the Administrator will continue to acknowledge receipt of test alerts only through 31 March 2017.