NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 2, 2004

Homeland security officials have long been concerned about the vulnerability of ports and ships to terrorists. New security requirements that took effect yesterday have both domestic and international components, although they prescribe essentially the same things. U.S. regulations are set out in the Port and Maritime Security Act of 2001 and the international rules are described in the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, which is governed by the U.N.-controlled International Maritime Organization.

Under the rules:

  • All merchant ships must tighten security by carrying a security officer, displaying identification clearly and restricting access to the engine room and bridge.
  • Also, ships headed for U.S. ports will have to alert authorities 96 hours before arrival.
  • Ports have also been required to tighten security by devising a security plan; eventually, all cargo will have to be sent through radiation detectors.

The new security requirements have been signed by bout 150 countries, accounting for 98 percent of gross merchant shipping tonnage.

Source: Editorial, "Maritime security," Washington Times, July 2, 2004.


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