The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is hosting an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Seminar/Workshop on Maritime and Port Security for East Asian Countries from 26 to 30 Aug 2002 at the M Hotel. The five-day event (3-day seminar and 2-day workshop) is held for the first time in Singapore. It aims to raise the awareness of the regional governments participating in the Seminar/Workshop and the shipping industry on the measures to prevent and suppress unlawful acts, including terrorism directed at ports, port personnel as well as ships at sea and in port areas, passengers and crews. It also aims to provide participants with guidance to assess, put in place or enhance appropriate infrastructure, and implement or modify security measures to strengthen maritime/port security within the East Asian Member States.
The September 11 terrorist attacks in the US had highlighted the vulnerabilities of the port and shipping sectors to security threats. These attacks had also stressed the need for international action to address the vulnerabilities to security threats. One of the major challenges faced has been the need to develop measures that apply globally, without compromising efficiency of trade flows.
In response to this challenge, the 22nd session of the IMO Assembly held in November 2001 had adopted Resolution A.924 (22). This resolution called for a review of measures and procedures to prevent acts of terrorism which threaten the security of passengers and crews and the safety of ships. Among other instruments developed to fight terrorism, the IMO has introduced a global model training programme on maritime and port security under its Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme to train maritime and port personnel in assessing and putting in place enhanced security infrastructure and measures. This Seminar/Workshop is one of a series of workshops that the IMO is organising under its global training programme on maritime and port security.
The Seminar/Workshop will address a broad range of topics. These cover areas such as maritime security threats and risk assessments, terrorism, development of maritime security policies, legal ramifications, port facility security surveys and plans, ship security surveys and plans, and training.
The top IMO official attending this event is Mr Zhu Jianxin, Head of the Asia and Pacific Region, Technical Co-operation Division of the IMO. The Seminar/Workshop has attracted some 30 participants from 15 countries including Brunei, Malaysia, China, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. Another 21 observers including officials from Hong Kong and Indonesia are also present for the Seminar/Workshop.
The hosting of the Seminar/Workshop underscores Singapore’s commitment to securing international co-operation on stepping up global maritime security. This follows earlier efforts such as being the first country in Asia to agree to participate in the US Container Security Initiative
(CSI) and the planned installation of two new x-ray machines at the port terminals to screen containers by January 2003. Also planned is a 3-day International Maritime and Port Security Conference to be held from 21 to 23 January 2003. Organised by the MPA, the focus of this conference is on “Maritime Security – Changing Landscape and New Challenges”.