WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 25–40 | Cite as

Integrating the procedures of reporting port security incidents and the follow-up investigation to build a national maritime security policy: a case study in Mexico

  • A. Ávila-Zúñiga-NordfjeldEmail author
  • D. Dalaklis


This paper aims to improve port security measures in developing countries via integrating the procedures of incident reporting and the associated follow up investigation, hinging on the Mexican experience. The analysis examined port security at Mexican ports, where stakeholders were interviewed on the subject to identify the challenges and opportunities for security incident reporting, updating of security incident records and facilitation of the follow up investigation. Then, a qualitative security model was developed; under this new framework, incident reporting, incident investigation, the re-assessment of security threats through the Port Facility Security Assessment (PFSA) and the necessary modifications to the Port Facility Security Plans (PFSP) were all integrated. These subjects were all incorporated into a “transparent port security incident reporting tool”. This tool was implemented at all ports in Mexico, where the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) applies, by the National Maritime Authority. This demonstrated in a real case through “action research”, the improvement of port security framework in the country. Measurements were executed every quarter throughout the year 2017 and the incident-reporting instrument was adjusted accordingly. The results demonstrated a significant improvement in reporting security incidents, with the increase from absolutely nothing (zero) to 57 providing a strong indicator of success. In addition, 56% of those reported maritime incidents were also associated with recommendations to be integrated into the PFSA and respective PFSP. Collecting accurate and immediate information/evidence material while reporting security incidents is crucial for effective incident investigation and continuous improvement of the PFSP.


Mexico Port security Security incident records Incident reporting Incident investigation PFSA PFSP 



Automatic Identification System


Closed-Circuit Television

CI Code

Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident.


Company Security Officer


Continuous Synopsis Records


Centro Unificado para la Protección Maritíma y Portuaria and represented with the abbreviation “CUMAR,” in Spanish (Unified Centre for Port and Maritime Security, Mexico, own translation)


Diario Oficial de la Federación, in Spanish (Official Diary of the Federation, in English).


Declaration of Security


Exclusive Economic Zone


Fideicomiso de Formación y Capacitación para el Personal de la Marina Mercante Nacional, in Spanish, in Mexico (Fund of Education and Training for the National Merchant Marine, in English, own translation)


International Maritime Organization


International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (International Safety Management (ISM) Code)


International Ship and Port Facility Security Code


International Ship Security Certificate


Port Facility Security Assessment


Port Facility Security Officer


Port Facility Security Plan


Port Security Assessment


Port Security Advisory Committee


Port Security Committee


Port Security Officer


Port Security Plan


Recognized Security Organization


Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, in Spanish, Mexico (Secretariat of Communications and Transportation)


Secretaría de Marina, in Spanish, Mexico (Secretariat of the Navy)


Statement of Compliance


International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea,1974


Ship Security Assessment


Ship Security Alert System


Ship Security Officer


Ship Security Plan


International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers, 1978


Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf


United Nations


Unidad Naval de Protección Portuaria, and represented with the abbreviation UNAPROP, in Spanish, in Mexico (Navy Unit for Port Protection, own translation)


United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982


World Customs Organization



It is necessary to acknowledge the support of the National Maritime Authority in Mexico, the Secretary of SEMAR, Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, towards the implementation of the incident-reporting tool and access to the setting. Grateful thanks are also appropriate to Admiral Ángel Enrique Sarmiento Beltrán, Under-Secretary of SEMAR, for his willingness to discuss the implementation of the incident-reporting tool, its benefits and opportunities for improvement during the action research study.

Many thanks are also appropriate to those participants interviewed at the Maritime Customs Units, Master of Harbors; Port Administration Directors; Port Security Officers; Port Facility Security Officers, Commander of the Navy functioning as presidents of the CUMAR at the visited ports and commander of the UNAPROPs.


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Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maritime Administration: Law, Policy, Safety and SecurityWorld Maritime University (WMU)MalmöSweden
  2. 2.Safety & SecurityWorld Maritime University (WMU)MalmöSweden

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