Major security exercise carried out for Scottish ferry client

4Seven Kingdom officers – Jamie Graham, Ifty Chauhan, Ryan MacVicar, Abigail Everett, Sammy Smith, Beverly Petrie and Martin Mitchell – have recently spent a whole week carrying out a quarterly security exercise at a number of ports in Scotland for one of their clients.

During that week the team travelled over 500 miles, visited six different ports, and carried out searches on over 300 vehicles and 500 passengers. This is because Kingdom is required to complete four “Level 2” security exercises per year as part of their security contract with their client CalMac Ferries, in order to ensure that the client is compliant with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

ISPS is an amendment to the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies. It came into force in 2004 and prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventative measures after security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.” It is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities that was developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

5If the British government was to raise the Maritime Threat Level to Level 2, in order to comply with the ISPS Code Kingdom would be required to mobilise in excess of 48 officers to conduct searches on between 30 and 50% of all vehicles and passengers prior to them boarding vessels at six of CalMac’s mainland port facilities in Scotland - Ullapool, Uig, Mallaig, Oban, Kennacraig and Ardrossan. The quarterly exercise carried out by Kingdom recently was therefore to ensure that both Kingdom and CalMac Ferries are prepared in case the threat level does get raised.

Therefore, in accordance with ISPS Regulations, Kingdom’s seven officers travelled around Calmac Ferries’ various terminals conducting searches of vehicles and passengers that were boarding the ferries. The officers had recently undergone specialist search training conducted by Police Scotland and were therefore looking to put their newly learned techniques and knowledge into play.

6On their first day they searched 85 out of 89 vehicles and 134 out of 257 foot passengers. Nothing untoward was found except a passenger carrying a knife which was found to be within the legal limit of under 3.5 inches.

On day two their ferry from Armadale on the Isle of Skye to Mallaig was cancelled due to gale force winds so they were unable to perform searches in Mallaig, leaving them with no option except to drive four hours to Reach, the next destination in Oban. Oban is Calmac’s flagship terminal and one of the busiest in the country. There they searched passengers boarding two ferries – one sailing to Mull and another to Craignure. Because there were so many cancellations they only conducted 48 vehicles searches and 64 passenger searches, meaning they had to start at 5am on the following day to make up for it, searching 34 vehicles and 29 passengers before breakfast before heading off to Tarbert. The following day they conducted searches at Kennacraig Ferry Terminal. Once again there weren’t many foot passengers (only 17) due to bad weather, but 53 vehicles were searched on two ferries, which was 100% of all vehicles and passengers. Unbeknown to Kingdom’s team, one of the foot passengers was a former superintendent for Police Scotland who now works for the Security Industry Authority (SIA). They did not realise this until he had asked them a few probing questions, such as what powers of search they had and what legislation they were acting on. He praised the team for answering him informatively and correctly!

7Kingdom provides both security and cleaning services for CalMac Ferries Ltd. CalMac is short for Caledonian MacBrayne. It is the largest fleet of car and passenger ferries in the United Kingdom. It has 31 vessels in operation providing lifeline services to 24 islands off the west coast of Scotland, as well as operating routes across the River Clyde. They provide 135,585 sailings every year – an average of 371 sailings a day – to 50 ports. In May they won a new £900million contract to continue operating the Clyde and Hebrides Ferries Network for a further eight year period. For more information about CalMac Ferries, please visit

Innovative, independent and driven to explore new ways Kingdom successfully manage thousands of service personnel to the highest standard specialising in security, cleaning and environmental protection. Our national network of regional support offices manage thousands of service personnel to the highest standard, benchmarked by all the major UK quality accreditation bodies.


Established in 1993 and operating nationally, commercial and service strength supported with organic and acquisition growth has seen Kingdom become one of the largest independently owned companies in the UK within their areas of service expertise. Commercially strong they have a strategy to continually grow and strengthen by expanding their services and offering a complete support service to their customers.

Kingdom take a fresh approach to the support services market: adapting to the proliferation of new technologies and emerging security threats, whilst also offering their customers a leaner, smarter and more connected way of working.

For more information about Kingdom and all their services, please visit or call 0845 051 7702.

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