Superyachts are required to identify where ships stores are located as a compulsory requirement of the Ship’s Security Plan.

Section 7.2 of the ISPS Code Part a requires the supervising the handling of cargo and ship’s stores (specifically the mandatory requirements regarding the provisions of chapter xi-2 of the international convention for the safety of life at sea, 1974, as amended) At security level 1, the following activities shall be carried out through appropriate measures in all port facilities, taking into account the guidance given in part B of this Code to identify and take preventive measures against security incidents: supervising the handling of ship’s stores Part B mentions the location and function of each actual or potential access point to the ship; and  the locations where the shipís stores and essential maintenance equipment is stored.

Threats to safety

A possible threat is identified as: tampering with cargo, essential ship equipment or systems or shipís stores The on-scene security survey is an integral part of any SSA. The on-scene security survey should examine and evaluate existing shipboard protective measures, procedures and operations for: supervising the handling of cargo and the delivery of shipís stores; and a SSP should have a procedure for the delivery of ship’s stores. This will be along the lines of: Visual Check, physical inspection. Security seal   check, document check before inspection.


However, how many yachts know in detail the contents of every box that they receive on board. This is a particular issue in the case of Amazon which is becoming the default supplier for many non-essential items. Amazon as a security measure do not identify the contents on the packaging. They do offer an app to read the Barcodes but these can only be scanned by the account holder. The only identifying code is the tracking reference on the package which can be checked by the owner of the account. In most cases, this is not done. Which means that a yacht is taking on board an item which has not been subject to any of the checks called for by the SSP. Stores are delivered to a local port agent who likewise has no idea of the contents. Is the answer to open every box before delivering on board? Or are we over-reacting? How can a few undentified brown unidentified boxes be a threat? The answer is almost none.

Ship’s SSP

The problem is that this ‘almost’ is a potential breach of the SSP. There needs to be a methodology. Crew more than ever are buying items from Amazon on their own personal accounts and many captains allow this as a gesture of good will.

‘I can’t expect crew who are away from home for extended periods  not to have access to some form of digital retail experience.’

Pursers, engineers and  chief stews are also increasingly buying on Amazon. A freight forwarder will issue a manifest before shipping. The manifest will identify the supplier and,  in the case of Amazon, the tracking id. These can all be checked by the Ship’s Security Officer against a list of purchase orders before shipping.


The stores should be accompanied by the manifest and this should be cross-checked on delivery. Any discrepancies should be then subject to a visual check. Ideally, the freight forwarder should have a list of the yacht’s purchase orders and this should be labeled accordingly on each box.

In an ideal world

Everything that comes on board should be pre-cleared and accompanied by a transit document or a shipping manifest. This plugs any gaps in the security protocol.