port security officer Duties and responsibilities


A Port security officer is responsible for the protection of people, properties, and information at the port. The maritime Port Facility Security Officers should be familiar with specific threats and hazards at ports, and systems of providing security.

Sea port-security threat;

Whether in the airport or seaport there is a very strict security protocol to follow the security staff and the employees designated to protect the national critical infrastructures. The breach of security protocol end in serious consequences from small theft to the large deliberate sabotages of the container cranes and warehousing.

Specific security threats at ports;

  • Stowaways and illegal immigrants
  • Theft of cargo during loading and unloading
  • Smuggling of drugs, weapons or other prohibited items
  • Hazardous materials transport
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Organized crime rings
  • Importation of radiological (dirty) or biological weapons

Specific safety hazards at seaports; 

  • Container loading and unloading
    • Crush or impact hazards
    • Overhead cargo loads
  • Slips and trips on cabling, ropes, and wet surfaces
  • Falling off docks into water
  • Spillage of oils and petrol (flammable)
  • Noise and vibration of heavy machinery
  • Shared space with vehicles and plant machinery

Organizations and Agencies operating at Sea Ports;

The port security officer should aware of other agencies that have involved in the port and their roles to the relation of the port operation. Typical agencies working in the port area;

  1. Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE)
    • Supporting biosafety within the country by protecting from the importation of unsafe foods, animal or agricultural products
    • Protecting against epidemics and disease
  2. Food Control Authority (FCA) 
    • Ensuring the health of animals and plants entering the country’s
  3. Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA)
    • Safeguarding the coastal waters surrounding ports, and critical infrastructure sites
  4. Federal Customs Authority (FCA)
    • Facilitating the movements of trade and passengers through a port
    • Inspection of goods and materials
  5. Fire Defence
    • Responding to fires
    • Supporting incident management and disaster recovery
  6. Other port users
    • Seamen
    • Navy crews
    • Port operations staff

Integrated system for the port security;

  • Access Control Points at the entrance to ports
  • Security zones within the port site
    • Entry control at transitions between zones e.g.
      • RFID card,
      • Padlocks etc.
  • CCTV and control rooms
  • Container and cargo inspection and searching
  • Vehicle and personnel searching

General duties of the port security officer;

  • Supervise parking areas outside the main port entrances
  • Inspect trucks and light vehicles for authorized personnel and cargo
  • Foot patrolling of various security areas within the port
  • Clearance of passenger terminals after last ship or ferry departs
  • Escort and monitoring of work crews on-site at the port, including verification of permits to work
  • Direct and guide external agencies such as Police and CID to the appropriate locations
  • Report and record health and safety incidents and near misses
  • Inspection of port ID for incoming personnel and vehicles
  • Completion of port visitor and contractor logs
  • Liaise with the control room in event of emergencies
  • Opening and closing of daily use facilities e.g.
    • Office and administration areas
    • Training facilities
  • Inspection of cruise ship ID for passengers coming on board or departing the ship
  • Vehicle patrols of port facilities
  • Control room duties including radio operator, CCTV operator, and key holding
  • Reporting and recording incidents and occurrences in the daily occurrence book
  • Incident response: The police and supporting agencies respond to the critical incident in the port because of the critical nature of the infrastructure. In case of a serious incident, the security staff will respond according to the site policy.

Example of the critical incident in the port;

  • Fire
  • Capsized vessel
  • Container crane collapse
  • Release of hazardous materials
  • Serious vehicle accident
  • Suspected improvised explosive device (IED)
  • Armed robbery

Advance Security Course

Basic security course

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