The Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) is a mandatory security system installed on board ships to alert relevant authorities in case of a security threat.
The system works by transmitting a ship security alert message to a shore-based authority, such as a flag state, the ship’s company security officer, or a coastal state, through a satellite communication system.
The SSAS system is typically activated by a discrete alert button located in a secure location, such as the ship’s bridge or the captain’s cabin.
When the alert button is pressed, the SSAS system immediately sends an alert message via satellite to the designated shore-based authority. The message includes the ship’s identity, position, and the fact that the SSAS system has been activated.
The beacon transmits a specific country code, reacting to which the Rescue Coordination Centres (RCCs) or SAR Points of Contact (SPOCs) of that particular region are notified discreetly. Once receiving the signal the national authorities of the area notified dispatch appropriate military or law-enforcement forces to deal with the terrorist or pirate menace.
The SSAS system is designed to be tamper-proof, and its operation is only known to a limited number of people on board the ship. This helps to prevent false alarms and ensures that the system can only be activated in case of a genuine security threat. In summary, the SSAS system works by providing a rapid and discreet alert to relevant authorities in case of a security threat on board a ship, helping to protect the crew and cargo from potential harm.