Training is Key
PORT SECURITY in the UNITED STATES
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on April 26, 2011 that the Port of Los Angeles will serve as the first facility to train law enforcement personnel specifically focused on port security.
Port security refers to the defence, law and treaty enforcement, and counterterrorism activities that fall within the port and maritime . It includes the protection of the seaports themselves, the protection and inspection of the cargo moving through the ports, and maritime security.
Internationally, port security is governed by rules issued by the International Maritime Organization and its 2002 International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS). Additionally, some United States-based programs have become de facto global port security programs, including the Container Security Initiative and the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism.
Port security in the United States
In the United States, port security is handled jointly by the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, both components of the Department of Homeland Security. Local law enforcement agencies and the FBI also have a role in port security at the local and regional level.
Port security gained prominence politically in 2006 due to the sale of British company P&O Ports (including its American port assets) to Dubai Ports World. The ensuing controversy led to charges that the purchase would pose a national security risk. In March 2006, Dubai Ports World announced that it would sell off its American assets, and they were sold to AIG in December 2006.
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral David Stone (retired) is an expert on maritime and trade security and the former assistant secretary of homeland security for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In a recent column for Security InfoWatch, Mr. Stone wrote about the challenges of Port Security.
“The first challenge involves implementing a set of standards that defines what safeguards a port should have in place. Under the Coast Guard's direction, a set of standards is being developed for all U.S. ports to use in conducting port vulnerability assessments. However, many questions remain about whether the thousands of people who have grown accustomed to working in certain ways at the nation’s ports will agree to, and implement, the kinds of changes that a substantially changed environment will require.
The second challenge involves determining the amounts needed and sources of funding for the kinds of security that are likely to be required to meet the standards.
The third challenge is ensuring that there is sufficient cooperation and coordination among the many stakeholders to make the security measures work. Experience to date indicates that this coordination is more difficult than many stakeholders anticipate, and that continued practice and testing will be key in making it work.
The September 11 attacks demanded a new initiative be taken in maritime security efforts. The Coast Guard is initializing an approach that will the quality and timing of shipping and carrier information so that it may be properly evaluated for terrorist threats. This allows more time for proper recognition of vessels, and will aid in the flow of legitimate shipping vessels. Together with the Navy, the Coast Guard has developed the use of maritime domain awareness, which is essentially the collection of all intelligence gathered from government agencies, and assembled to provide a common operating picture.
CBP has initiated new programs to aid in counter terrorist efforts by creating the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT). The CSI consists of 4 core elements: Using intelligence and automated information to identify and target containers that pose a risk for terrorism, pre-screening those containers that pose a risk at the port of departure before they arrive at U.S. ports, using detection technology to quickly pre-screen containers that pose a risk, and using smarter, tamper-evident containers. Under C-TPAT, shippers commit to the security of their cargo shipments, and in return, they receive a variety of benefits from the government.”
Organized Crime Remains a Threat to Port Security
It takes only one corrupt official to look the other way to jeopardize security at one of the nation’s main gateways for goods from all over the world, according to some law enforcement officials, referring to the stretch between Port Newark and Newark Liberty International Airport as "the most dangerous two miles in America."
A series of recent court cases shows that despite a larger focus on airport security since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, another security concerns persist at the ports.
Mob arrests raise issues regarding port security
A recent federal sweep netted more than 120 defendants, among them several dockworkers and longshoremen union officials. The FBI called it one of the largest Mafia takedowns in history.
The indictments seem to indicate that organized crime elements persists in the ports, despite decades of law enforcement efforts to root them out.
Some experts say it's a troubling trend, because the ports are considered extremely sensitive homeland security targets in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Port Facilities and Maritime Security Courses offered by CTTA
The Canadian Tactical Training Academy (CTTA) is an organization devoted to worldwide training of peace and law enforcement officers, as well as all other professionals involved in the fields of security, investigation, protection and the maintenance of order.
CTTA offers a Port Facilities and Maritime Security course which includes the following topics:
•International Maritime Organization
•International Shipping and Port Facility Security Code(ISPS Code)
•Definitions and Responsibilities according to the ISPS Code
•Planning for Port Facility Security: The 3 Levels of Security
•Identification, Recognition, and Reaction to Threats: Concepts of Security
•Equipment Related to Port Security
•Security Measures for Port Security
•Fundamental Concepts Related to Port Security
•Education and Training Relative to Port Security
The Academy also provides tailored security and safety oriented civilian training at both the individual and corporate levels.