Page 39: of Marine Technology Magazine (May 2008)
Undersea Defense Edition
www.seadiscovery.com Marine Technology Reporter 39 seaward threat to ports. At Securewest International we monitor over 16m tonnes of international shipping and we issue on average one to two alerts every day.
The trend in port security initiatives has been a definite move towards pushing borders out - better cooperation among intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, and inspection of shipping containers before they leave foreign ports for American shores (CSI) are all measures designed as 'forward defence' of seaports.
The CIS 'study' is due to conclude not long before this item goes to press, but even with results still pending,
Washington has hailed the initiative as a success. For oth- ers it only serves to reinforce the belief that the CSI does- n't solve the container security problem, it merely moves the terrorism threat elsewhere.
A key phrase here is 'maritime domain awareness' - knowing what is out there. Ports in general do not really need to know what is beyond the horizon but, with legis- lation concerning Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) systems entering into force on 1 January 2008 (applying to ships constructed on or after 31 December 2008 with a phased-in implementation schedule for ships constructed before 31 December 2008), there is a value in ports also being able to 'see' what is inbound at ranges not necessarily reached by radar or AIS. Any holes in the domain awareness 'shield' are a potential gateway for the terrorist.
In addition, history dictates that actually threats come not from the vessels we know about (and that are ISPS compliant), but from those numerous small craft that are not. This is why more and more authorities are looking at tracking everything in a port or harbour area.
However, this is not an easy task and there are costs asso- ciated with this. AIS base stations have their limitations and are dependent on weather / height etc. The combina- tion of AIS Type B, AIS Type A on ISPS compliant ves- sels, and a long range base station can provide cost effec- tive awareness for port / harbour area, as could the use of integrated software solutions currently available that per- mit all this information, plus radar and even CCTV, to be displayed together.
The challenge for ports is to integrate all this data and ensuring it is being used correctly - monitored and made available to the right authorities and agencies in a given port, especially in response to any alert or emergency when other outside agencies may need to be involved in pre planning or reaction (post incident).
Its not all about portside initiatives, gadgets and gizmos.
We should not loose sight of the fact that vessels too have a responsibility towards security whilst both at sea and also in port. Although the lines of responsibility can be some- what blurred here, effective cooperation and a sensible approach to security tasking is always the best solution.
Port security measures vary alarmingly from one country to another and so leaving the job to others and expecting the application of strict security to be carried out as a mat- ter of routine is a risky habit to fall into. We are not just talking about the terrorist as the threat here - stowaways are still a constant drain on resources.
Port security itself is far from being a simple issue, encompassing a variety of solutions to a variety of threats.
According to IMO figures around 50,000 vessels called at over 4,000 ports across the world during 2007, and in the process 85% of the global trade was moved. Yet, despite the obvious significance of ports in relation to world eco- nomics, port security is often not high enough on the security agenda.
About the Author
Paul Singer joined Securewest
International in 2003 following 10 years service as a Special
Constable with the police force in the United Kingdom and a successful business career. He is now responsible for Securewest
International's technical sup- port and worldwide marketing.
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