Limiting maritime security to screening cargo arriving at U.S. seaports is a dangerous mistake, according to a new RAND Corporation report
, which suggests that cruise ships and ferry boats offer rich and often easier targets for terrorists.
"Focusing solely on securing the container supply chain without defending other parts of the maritime environment is like bolting down the front door of a house and leaving the back door wide open," said Henry Willis
, a RAND researcher and a co-author of the report in a press release.
According to the report, Maritime Terrorism: Risk and Liability, attacks on civilian cruise ships and ferry boats would fulfill the three main goals of contemporary terrorist attacks -- visibility, destruction and disruption.
While acknowledging that the largest potential maritime disaster would involve detonation of a nuclear device smuggled into a major port, the report places the likelihood of such an attack far lower than other types of attacks.
Though considerably less catastrophic than the nuclear scenario, the report argues that attacks on passenger ferries or cruise ships would be more probable. These attacks might involve on-board bombs or biological contaminants inserted into the food supply, according to researchers.
source: News & Issues