A new comprehensive security regime for international shipping entered into force on 1 July 2004 following the adoption at a Diplomatic Conference of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of a series of measures to strengthen maritime security and prevent and suppress acts of terrorism against shipping.

The new security regime applies to passenger ships and cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards, including high-speed craft, mobile off-shore units and port facilities serving such ships engaged on international voyages.

SafeSeas Ireland is Ireland's implementation of the European Maritime Safety Agency's (EMSA) SafeSeaNet messaging system. SafeSeaNet is an EU-wide protocol that will allow member states to monitor and exchange information about maritime traffic within EU territorial waters.
Safeseas Ireland has been developed and deployed in compliance with EU directive 2002/59. This facilitates the exchange of messages between Ireland maritime authorities and other member states. The SafeSeas Ireland employs a central national hub that will route messages originating from Ireland ports on to EMSA's SafeSeaNet central index