All hands on deck at the Port of Cork



Captain Pat Murphy, Port Facility Security Officer, Port of Cork, Cork, Republic of Ireland


The Port of Cork
The Port of Cork is a key seaport in the south of Ireland, offering all six shipping modes: lift-on lift-off, roll-on roll-off, liquid bulk, dry bulk, break bulk and cruise. Over 3,000 ships and on average 10 million tonnes of cargo pass though the port each year, making it one of the busiest ports in Ireland. Due to its favorable location on the south coast and its modern deepwater facilities, the Port is ideally positioned for European trading, as well as direct deep-sea services.

The need for an integrated security system
Responsible for the ownership and management of five facilities in Cork harbor, the second largest natural harbor in the world, the Port of Cork operates dedicated terminals for cruise ships, passenger ferries, dry bulk, containers and general cargo storage. Additional facilities include a 100-meter yacht marina in Cork city; a commercial fishing pier in Crosshaven, and several other smaller facilities catering for the leisure industry.

These facilities are situated in various parts of the harbor, sometimes up to 15 kilometers apart, and the sheer size of the operation created a real challenge for the security team in terms of monitoring and securing the entire facility. For the Port of Cork security team, the main challenge was the lack of connectivity between disparate security systems and a need to make functions such as CCTV, access control, remote monitoring and intruder alarms ‘talk’ to one another, and operate on a more integrated level. This lack of integration was potentially impacting on the ability of the security team to monitor all areas efficiently, potentially threatening the overall security of the Port.

Meeting international standards of port security
Aside from the size of the facility, Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO), Captain Pat Murphy also faced additional challenges from increased volumes of traffic coming into the Port. With this additional traffic came a greater responsibility to protect both the Port itself and also cargo arriving into Cork from theft or smuggling activity. Given the heightened risk of terrorism, Captain Murphy and his team also required technologies that could provide greater intelligence than its current security systems could provide.

Additionally, as PFSO, Murphy has responsibility for ensuring the Port of Cork Company fulfils the requirements of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code and EU Directive 2005/65 on delivering Port security. The Department of Transport’s approved Port Facility Security Plans (PFSP) are set out to enhance the security of ships as well as the protection of port facilities through appropriate measures. These PFSPs have various levels, ranging from normal day-to-day security operations to the heightened level associated with an imminent security threat. Having the right technology in place to meet these requirements is instrumental in allowing the Port to be classified as an approved gateway port. This means the Port of Cork can provide a direct outward route for the movement of cargo and passengers to the USA, which is crucial to the economic development for the Port, Cork City and hinterland.

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