Page 18: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2003)
Open Letter to the U.S. Coast Guard Regarding Maritime Security
By Dennis L. Bryant, Senior
Maritime Counsel, Holland & Knight
On December 30. 2002. the U.S. Coast
Guard published a Notice of meetings and a request for comments relating to maritime security (67 Fed. Reg. 79742). •^j^aaUrimAStab^^
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Following are some thoughts on this important issue. I must commence by stating that I have the highest respect for the Coast Guard. The maritime and port security missions are vital to the
U.S. and the world. There is no agency better qualified to lead this important program. Congress has assigned heavy responsibilities to the Coast Guard and, at the same time, required that the initial work be done in an impossibly short time. The Coast Guard is accustomed to working in real time and will accom- plish the mission in the shortest possi- ble period. While the U.S. Coast Guard will lead the maritime security effort, it is by no means the only player. Other federal agencies, such as the Customs
Service, the Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS), the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS), have important roles to play. State and local agencies, including the numerous port authorities, are important members of the team. The private sector, though, is where maritime security will actually come into being. The active and willing participation of ship owners and opera- tors, masters and crew, and facility operators and employees will be the meat on the bones of statutes, regula- tions and guidelines. I applaud efforts by the Coast Guard to hold these public meetings to gather comments. The meetings will improve appreciation of the program on the part of the regulated community while enhancing the under- standing of the Coast Guard of the com- plex nature of the task it has been assigned. The eventual regulations will be vastly improved because of this effort.
In its Notice, the Coast Guard asked for comments on a number of specific and fairly detailed questions. I will leave those comments to persons actual- ly operating ships and facilities impact- ed by the maritime security proposals, who are far better qualified to assist the
Coast Guard with their implementation.
Instead, I will limit my comments to over-arching issues and common themes that transcend detailed issues.
The International Ship and Port
Facility Security (ISPS) Code was recently adopted at an international conference convened by the
International Maritime Organization (IMO). The ISPS Code directs flag administrations to require ship owners
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