The ISPS Code was adopted by the IMO in 2002, with entry into force on 1 July 2004. The ISPS Code has been made applicable to all EU and EEA countries by EC Regulation (EC) 725/2004 and nationally by the Norwegian Regulations 972/2004 (Security Regulations).

According to national Regulations, the following ships shall have an International Ship Security Certificate, ISSC Certificate (see the Security Regulations for more information):

  • passenger ships, including high-speed passenger craft, certified for international trade, and passenger ships certified as class A passenger ships
  • cargo ships, including high-speed cargo craft, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards, certified for international trade
  • mobile offshore drilling units

Issuing of the International Ship Security Certificate, ISSC

An International ship security certificate is valid for a maximum of 5 years, provided that at least one intermediate verification has been carried out in the validity period. The intermediate verification must be done in the period between the second and third anniversary of the certificate. The intermediate verification shall include an inspection of the vessel's security systems and the associated equipment.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority or a recognised security organisation (RSO) can in particular cases demand additional verifications.

An original approval letter shall be available together with the certificate.  The approval letter must be signed and stamped, and contain the date of initial approval of the ship’s security plan.  The original approval letter shall accompany the certificate as long as it is valid under the Norwegian flag.

Interim ISSC

The Norwegian Maritime Authority or a recognised security organisation (RSO) can issue a Interim international ship security certificate (I-ISSC) valid up to 6 months, if the ship complies with the conditions and requirements set out in Part A of the ISPS Code, section 19.4. The duration of an International ship security certificate cannot be extended.

Validity of certificate

A certificate ceases to be valid:

  • if the relevant inspections have not been carried out within the periods stated in the ISPS regulations
  • if the certificate has not been endorsed according to the ISPS regulations
  • when a company assumes responsibility for the operation of a ship which has not previously been operated by this company, and
  • upon transfer of the ship to the flag of another state

If the ship is not in a port where the certificate will be checked, the administration may extend the validity of the certificate. This extension may only be granted to enable the ship to complete the journey to a port where the certificate will be checked, and only in cases where it seems fair and square.

No certificate should be extended with more than three months, and a ship that has been granted an extension may not upon arrival in the port where the certificate will be checked leave the port without being granted a new certificate.

When the renewal check has been carried out, the new certificate will be valid until a date not exceeding five years from the expiry date of the existing certificate before the extension was granted.

Expired certificate

If the certificate expires, the ship shall be detained, and an order issued. The company must request a new process for ISPS verification.

Deviations and immediate actions

An ISSC may not be issued if deviations from the ISPS regulations and/or the ship’s security plan have been established.

All deviations must be closed or downgrades with immediate actions before the certificate may be endorsed with and intermediate verification. The deadline for closure of immediate actions must be set in dialogue with the ISPS surveyor.


Records as mentioned in Part A of the ISPS Code, section 10.1 shall be kept on board for the last 3 years and for at least the last 10 ports of call.

All documentation shall be written in the working language of the vessel. If the language used is not English, a translation into English shall be included on board.