New Legislation will Affect Maritime Community

Tuesday, April 30, 2002
The Associate Under Secretary for Maritime & Land Security, Transportation Security Administration, will announce new legislation affecting the maritime community at IIR's forthcoming "Seaport Security" conference to be held on June 10-12, 2002 in New Jersey. In the keynote address, Rear Admiral Bennis will outline major changes to the responsibilities of The Coast Guard, US Customs, port authorities, terminal operators and federal, state and local law enforcement, designed to ensure the security of the seaport infrastructure from terrorist attack. The changes are expected to impact operation of the entire transportation chain. Rear Admiral Bennis, now retired from the US Coast Guard, is no stranger to the impact of terrorist attack on the homeland. As the Captain of the Portand Commander of Coast Guard Activities New York, he led the Coast Guard response to the attack on the World Trade Center. On September 11th he marshalled the forces that evacuated close to 1 million people from lower Manhattan by water and led the port security and recovery efforts in the months that followed.

The international seaport security conference comes at a time when the entire industry is in a heightened state of alert to the potential risks posed by the high volume of uninspected containerized cargo that passes through US Ports every day, bound for urban centers throughout the US. In its recent study "Protecting the American Homeland", The Brookings Institution advised President Bush that a 'doomsday scenario' attack on the maritime industry, using nuclear devices concealed in a shipping container, could cause damage and disruption that could cost the economy as much as a trillion dollars in losses. The international conference will also feature presentations from the International Maritime Organization, US Coast Guard, United States Customs & Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as senior security representatives from major US ports including New York New Jersey and Port of Los Angeles.

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