2100 Second Street, S.W.
United States Coast Guard
Washington, DC 20593-0001
Staff Symbol: G-OPR
Phone: (202) 267-1943
Fax: (202) 267-4418
MAR 1 2004
COMMANDANT INSTRUCTION 3120.3
GUIDANCE FOR THE SHIP SECURITY ALERT SYSTEM (SSAS)
(a) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Chapter XI-2/6.
(b) International Maritime Organization MSC Circulars 622, 623, and 1073.
(c) Guidance for Verification of Vessel Security Plans on Domestic Vessels in Accordance
with the Regulations Mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of
2002 and the International Ship & Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, COMDTPUB
P16700.4, NVIC No. 04-03.
1. PURPOSE. This Instruction provides guidance for the development of doctrine and policy for the
receipt and response to Ship Security Alert Systems (SSAS).
2. ACTION. Area and district commanders and indicated Headquarters Office Chiefs shall ensure
compliance with the contents of this Instruction. Internet release authorized.
3. DIRECTIVES AFFECTED. None.
4. BACKGROUND. Reference (a) mandates carriage of shipboard equipment for sending covert alerts
to shore for incidents involving acts of violence (such as piracy or terrorism) for new passenger and
cargo ships of at least 500 gross tons not later than July 1, 2004. Existing passenger vessels and
cargo vessels must have the equipment installed prior to the first radio survey after July 1, 2004, or
July 1, 2006, in accordance with reference (a). The Circulars mentioned in reference (b) provide
additional guidance for governments, ships and maritime rescue coordination centers (MRCCs),
respectively. Other types of vessels may carry and use ship security alerting systems (SSASs)
voluntarily. Since required equipment may be operational before the mandated July 1, 2004, phase
in date, the Coast Guard must be prepared to receive and handle such alerts as soon as practicable.
DISTRIBUTION SDL No. 140
NON-STANDARD DISTRIBUTION: Ba: Commandant (G-MP/ G-MOC/ G-MSE/ G-OPR/ G-OPF). Distributed by electronic means