Feature: Secure Seas, Open Ports

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

As new international and domestic regulations regarding shipping security enter force, the focus is not simply on security, but also on maintaining a healthy flow of commerce to keep the U.S. and world economy humming.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge recently announced the implementation of new security measures designed to build upon the layers of security that are already in place at the nation's ports. The new measures, required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act, add additional security protections to every port in the United States. Port and vessel protection continues to remain one of the Department of Homeland Security's highest priorities. The oceans and ports of the world are vital to the economic livelihood of the United States and countries throughout the world. Consider:

• Over 95 percent of the nation's overseas cargo moves through U.S. ports.

• There are 76 million recreational boaters in the U.S. and they spent more than $30.3 billion on boats and accessories in 2003.

• Worldwide, 5.8 billion tons of goods were traded by sea in 2001. This accounts for over 80 percent of world trade by volume.

• Over 318 billion gallons of petroleum products are shipped in vessels on U.S. waterways in a year.

• Cruise Ships calling at U.S. ports carry over 6 million passengers per year.

New Security Measures

In addition to the international requirements of the International Ship and Port Security Code, the U.S. has required vessels and port facilities around the country to take additional security measures by July 1, as part of the domestic Maritime Transportation Security Act which establishes a new, robust baseline of security for our nation's ports. Ports around the country are now on target to meet the July 1 deadline to implement additional port security measures.

Security Assessments and Plans: Port facilities and vessels across the nation were required to submit a security assessment and a security plan to the United States Coast Guard, now part of the Department of Homeland Security. The submitted security assessments identified the aspects of each port facility and vessel that were deemed security vulnerabilities. The accompanying security plan outlined specific measures that would be taken by each port to address those vulnerabilities. Some 9500 vessels and 3500 facilities submitted both a security assessment and a security plan earlier this year. In addition, the Coast Guard, examined the vulnerabilities of the port complexes as a whole and, working in conjunction with the local stakeholders, developed security plans that detail how the combined resources of an area will be used to deter, prevent and respond to terror threats. The Coast Guard analyzed each plan to ensure that it sufficiently and consistently addressed the security needs of the individual facility, port and vessel.

Implementation: The Coast Guard is overseeing the ongoing implementation of these security measures across the country. Each plan is different and uniquely tailored to the individual port, facility and vessel. Some of the specific security measures currently being implemented include increased identification checks on crew members and visitors to the ports; additional canine detection teams; expanded baggage and passenger screening efforts; strategically placed perimeter fencing equipped with newly installed surveillance cameras; targeted restricted access to sensitive areas of the port; x-ray machines on all large cruise ships; additional employee training procedures; increased security patrols; and implementation of a robust certification program to ensure foreign flagged vessels docking in U.S. ports have met the international security requirements, which the United States originally proposed to the international community in November 2001.

Continued Improvement: The U.S Coast Guard will conduct assessments of the nation's ports to determine which vulnerabilities still exists and where. These assessments consist of teams of analysts who craft possible terrorist plots against specific targets and then analyze how such targets would fare under those circumstances. Additional training and port security related exercises will also be part of ongoing port security effort. The U.S. Coast Guard has also implemented a verification program to ensure that all ports and vessels maintain their security measures. An Overview of Our Strategy

Layers of Security Systems: By taking a layered approach to security, the DHS has utilized the expertise of its bureaus - the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection - the private sector and state and local authorities, to create a system of different security measures that ensure there are protective measures in place from one end of a sea based journey to the other. The layered security measures are designed to protect the three phases of the journey: overseas, in transit, and on U.S. shores.

Joint Effort. Securing our ports and waterways is a team effort - everyone, from local governments and private citizens to the international community play an important role in ensuring that our waterways remain open for business. The U.S. government does not have the resources to secure the ports and waterways alone. DHS must coordinate its efforts with the nation's trading partners, enlist the expertise of maritime industry and local government agencies, and use the eyes and ears of our citizens, who are the true regional experts, to notice when something is amiss. The goal is to find the appropriate balance between security and freedom - between inspecting every container and keeping trade moving - that is the measure of success.

Overseas

24-hr Advance Manifest Container Security Initiative Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism ISPS Code International Port Security Program Operation Safe Commerce

In Transit

Smart Box Initiative Ship Security Alert System Automated Targeting System 96-Hour Advance Notice of Arrival

On U.S. Shores

National Targeting Center Security Boardings Automatic Identification System Security Committees Port Security Grants Rad., Chem., Bio. Screening Operation Drydock America's Waterway Watch Intelligence Fusion Centers Operation Port Shield MTSA Port Security Assessment Program NII Technology Maritime Safety and Security Teams Transportation Workers Identity Card

Implementing the Strategy

Overseas

24-Hour Advanced Manifest Rule - Awareness All sea carriers with the exception of bulk carriers and approved break bulk cargo are required to provide proper cargo descriptions and valid consignee addresses 24 hours before cargo is loaded at the foreign port for shipment to the United States through the Sea Automated Manifest System. Failure to meet the 24-hour Advanced Manifest Rule results in a "do not load" message and other penalties. Through this program, administered by DHS's Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the department has greater awareness of what is being loaded onto ships bound for the United States and the advance information enables DHS to evaluate the terrorist risk from sea containers.

Container Security Initiative (CSI): Awareness & Prevention Under the CSI program, the screening of containers that pose a risk for terrorism is accomplished by teams of CBP officials deployed to work in concert with their host nation counterparts. Nineteen of the top twenty ports have agreed to join CSI and are at various stages of implementation. These twenty ports account for approximately 66 percent of sea containers shipped to the United States. CSI operational seaports include: Rotterdam, LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Yokohama, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Göteborg, Felixstowe, Genoa, La Spezia, Busan, Durban, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax and Port Klang. Through CSI, potential suspect containers are targeted and identified before being loaded onto vessels.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT): Awareness & Prevention Through C-TPAT, thousands of importers, carriers, brokers, forwarders, ports and terminals and foreign manufacturers have taken the necessary steps to secure their supply chains. Under the C-TPAT initiative, business participants providing verifiable security information are eligible for special benefits. The security enhancements put in place by C-TPAT participant allow DHS to devote more resources to high-risk shipments. International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code: Awareness & Prevention By July 1, 2004, countries around the world will have implemented the first multilateral ship and port security standard ever created. The ISPS Code requires vessels and port facilities to conduct security assessments, develop security plans and hire security officers. By establishing a standard for security, the world has increased its ability to prevent maritime related attacks by making ports around the world more aware of unusual or suspicious activity.

International Port Security Program: Awareness & Prevention Under this effort, the U.S. Coast Guard and the host nations will work jointly to evaluate the countries' overall compliance with the ISPS Code. The Coast Guard will use the information gained from these visits to improve the United State's own security practices and to determine if additional security precautions will be required for vessels arriving in the United States from other countries.

Operation Safe Commerce (OSC): Awareness & Prevention This pilot program analyzes security in the commercial supply chain and tests solutions to close security gaps. The technologies tested through the program will enhance maritime cargo security, protect the global supply chain, and facilitate the flow of commerce. DHS has awarded $58 million in grants to the private sector since its inception and will award another $17 million this summer to private sector companies.

In Transit Smart Box Initiative: Prevention One core element of CSI is using smarter, "tamper evident" containers that will better secure containerized shipping. Designed to be "tamper evident," the Smart Box couples an internationally approved mechanical seal affixed to an alternate location on the container door with an electronic container security device designed to deter and detect tampering of the container door. If someone attempts to open the cargo door after it has been sealed, the Smart Box device on the door would reflect that there had been an attempted intrusion into the container. Together with the results of technology testing, Operation Safe Commerce, DHS will have valuable information to assist in developing performance standards for container security.

Ship Security Alert System: Response Like a silent alarm in a bank, a SSAS allows a vessel operator to send a covert alert to shore for incidents involving acts of violence, (such as piracy or terrorism), indicating the security of the ship is under threat or has been compromised. The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code requires new passenger and cargo ships of at least 500 gross tons to install this equipment by July 1, 2004. Existing passenger vessels and cargo vessels must have the equipment installed prior to the first radio survey after July 1, 2004, or by July 1, 2006. Other types of vessels may carry and use SSAS voluntarily.

Automated Targeting System (ATS): Awareness CBP's ATS serves as the premier tool for performing transactional risk assessments and evaluating potential national security risks posed by cargo and passengers arriving by sea, air, truck, and rail. Using pre-arrival information and input from the intelligence community, this rules-based system identifies high-risk targets before they arrive in the United States.

96-Hour Advance Notice of Arrival: Awareness & Prevention Ships must notify the Coast Guard 96 hours before arriving in a U.S. port and provide detailed information on the crew, passenger, cargo and voyage history. This information is analyzed using databases and intelligence information, including reviewing previous security problems with the vessel or illegal activity on the part of the crew. Part of this analysis will also account for the security environment in previous ports of call. By obtaining this information well in-advance of a vessels arrival, the U.S. Coast Guard is able to make determinations about which vessels require additional attention, including security precautions such as an at- sea boarding or armed escort during transit to and from port.

In U.S. Waters & On U.S. Shores

National Targeting Center (NTC): Prevention & Response The priority mission of CBP's NTC is to provide tactical targeting and analytical research support for CBP anti-terrorism efforts. Experts in passenger and cargo targeting at the NTC operate around the clock using tools like the Automated Targeting System (ATS) to identify tactical targets and support intra-departmental and inter-agency anti-terrorist operations. The NTC also supports operations in the field including the Container Security Initiative (CSI) personnel stationed at critical foreign ports throughout the world.

Maritime Intelligence Fusion Centers: Prevention Located in Norfolk, Va., and Alameda, Ca., these units compile and synthesize intelligence products from the federal, state and local level dealing with maritime security. These intelligence products are then disseminated to homeland security professionals across the country responsible for securing our ports and waterways.

High Interest Vessels Boardings: Prevention Before they are allowed to enter port, all vessels are screened for the security risk they pose to the United States based on information about the vessel's cargo, size, voyage, security history and any intelligence information. Those identified as higher risk are targeted for offshore boardings to ensure potential security issues are addressed prior to entry into port. In addition, the Coast Guard randomly selects vessels for security boardings to ensure an element of unpredictability and thus deterrence. Specially trained Coast Guard teams board the boats through traditional water based methods or via fast roping from helicopters.

Operation Port Shield: Prevention Operation Port Shield focuses on the implementation and enforcement of the new security measures implemented under the international requirements or MTSA between June 15 and December 31, 2004. Under this verification program, the Coast Guard will be boarding every vessel, at sea or at the dock, on its first visit to a U.S. port on or after July 1 to ensure that the vessel is complaint with U.S. security standards. These program officers will also visit foreign countries to evaluate antiterrorism measures in place at ports abroad.

Automatic Identification System: Awareness AIS is a type of vessel-tracking equipment that automatically sends detailed ship information to other ships and shore-based agencies, allowing for comprehensive, virtually instantaneous vessel tracking and monitoring, increasing security and safety in our shipping channels. Currently, most vessels required to use this technology are large vessels on international voyages. The Coast Guard is exploring possible ways to expand these requirements to other vessels and other U.S. waters.

Area Maritime Security Committees: Awareness, Prevention & Response The Coast Guard has established committees in all the nation's ports to coordinate the activities of all port stakeholders, including other federal, local and state agencies, industry and the boating public. These groups are tasked with collaborating on plans to secure their ports so the resources of an area can be best used to deter, prevent and respond to terror threats.

Port Security Assessment Program: Awareness This program is aimed at increasing the information and best practices available to port officials across the country to help them make decisions about how to reduce the vulnerability of their ports. The Coast Guard is in the process of closely examining the key infrastructure in the nation's 55 most economically and strategically important ports for potential vulnerabilities. Those assessments will be completed by the end of the year. In addition to these assessments, the Coast Guard is creating a system to display key port information in an electronic geospatially referenced format to serve as a database that can be easily searched for national, regional and local information.

Port Security Grants: Awareness, Prevention & Response The Port Security Grant Program provides federal resources for projects to enhance facility and operational security for critical national seaports. Funds assist ports in analyzing vulnerabilities and then closing gaps in security through physical enhancements like access control gates, fencing, lighting and advanced communication and surveillance systems. The program also funds the implementation of security strategies to prevent and respond to terror threats. Over the past three years, $516 million in grants have been allocated and another $50 million are currently pending review.

Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NII): Prevention Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technologies allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to screen a larger portion of the stream of commercial traffic in less time while facilitating legitimate trade. CBP officers use large-scale gamma ray and x-ray imaging systems to safely and efficiently screen conveyances for contraband, including weapons of mass destruction. These units can scan the interior of a full-size 40-foot container in under a minute. Inspectors also use personal radiation detectors to scan for signs of radioactive materials, as well as special high-tech tools such as density meters and fiber-optic scopes to peer inside suspicious containers. Finally, if necessary, containers are opened and unloaded for a more intensive manual inspection.

Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSSTs): Prevention & Response MSSTs are a Coast Guard rapid response force assigned to vital ports and capable of nationwide deployment via air, ground or sea transportation to meet emerging threats. MSSTs were created in direct response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. They have unique capabilities, including explosive-detection dogs, personnel trained to conduct fast- roping deployments from a helicopter to a hostile vessel, and anti-terrorism/force protection small boat handling training. Eight teams are currently in operation and five more are scheduled to be commissioned by early 2005.

Guarding In-Between the Ports: Prevention Coast Guard, CBP Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Air and Marine Operations units are responsible for patrolling and securing our nation's borders between the ports of entry. During FY04 to date, DHS personnel have apprehended more than 770,000 illegal aliens on land and over 9,000 at sea. By adding additional personnel, equipment and technology, the Department of Homeland Security has been able to broaden the areas of coverage. Through strong enforcement operations and the state of the art technology at the borders, the department has enhanced its operational effectiveness on the frontline.

Operation Drydock: Awareness & Prevention This Coast Guard and FBI investigation into national security threats and document fraud associated with U.S. merchant mariner credentials revealed nine individuals linked to terrorist groups that were holding maritime credentials. Merchant mariner credentials are often used as an identification document that allows mariners to come and go from the ship while it is docked in a foreign port. This investigation, enhancements to the criminal background check process for applicants, and increased security features on the cards themselves, has increased the U.S. Government's ability to monitor crews of the U.S. merchant fleet.

Transportation Workers Identity Card (TWIC): Awareness & Prevention The goal of the TWIC program is to develop a secure uniform credential to prevent potential terrorist threats from entering sensitive areas of our transportation system. When implemented, the TWIC program will ensure that credentials contain a biometric identifier to positively authenticate identities of TWIC holders. By having one universally recognized credential, workers avoid paying for redundant cards and background investigations to enter secure areas at multiple facilities. The Prototype Phase will be conducted at 35 facilities in six states including the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California and the fourteen major port facilities in the state of Florida. The prototype is funded with $50 million included in Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) budget and up to 200,000 port workers are expected to participate.

America's Waterways Watch: Awareness The goal of America's Waterway Watch is to help prevent acts of terrorism and other illegal activity that jeopardizes maritime homeland security by having members of the maritime and recreational boating industries, as well as the boating public, recognize and report to appropriate authorities suspicious activity that may be an indicator of potential terrorism. Any observations of suspicious or unusual activity could be extremely valuable to our national security and may provide clues to help uncover patterns of possible terrorist activity. Reports can be made to the Coast Guard, local law enforcement, or by calling 1-877-24- WATCH.

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