SSAS is a security measure that helps ships to send an alert message to designated authorities in case of a piracy or terrorism threat.
It is a discreet system that allows the ship crew to send a signal without alerting any potential attackers.
When activated, the SSAS sends a signal to a monitoring center via satellite communication systems, which then alerts the relevant authorities to the potential security threat.
Carriage of SSAS is a requirement under the regulations of chapter XI-2 of SOLAS. The ship security alert system is fitted to a ship to transmitlaw enforcement a security alert to the shore to indicate to a competent authority that the security of the ship is under threat or has been compromised.
SSAS is a system that contributes to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO)’s efforts to strengthen maritime security and suppress acts of terrorism and piracy against shipping.
The system is a joint project between Cospas-Sarsat and the IMO. In the case of attempted piracy or terrorism, the ship’s SSAS beacon can be activated, and appropriate law-enforcement or military forces can be dispatched.
Unlike the GMDSS distress alert, which is designed to be received by all possible stations, the SSAS is intended to allow a covert activation to be made which alerts the competent authority ashore and does not raise an alarm on board ship nor alert other ships.
It comprises a minimum of two activation points, one of which is on the navigation bridge.