Final Maritime Security Regulations Outlined
Assessments, cargo tracking, threat flexibility mandated
WASHINGTON, DC - 11/05/03 - US Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge has announced the approval and publication of the final maritime industry security requirements designed to "significantly improve protection of America's ports, waterways, and ships from a terrorist attack."
The Department of Homeland Security developed the final requirements with a team from the US Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration.
The DHS and DOT [Department of Transportation] held public meetings around the nation over the past year in New Orleans, Cleveland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, New York City, St Louis, and Washington DC to garner input from the maritime industry on port issues.
During those sessions DHS solicited and considered acceptable alternatives from the private sector to meet specific security measures, which included the receipt and evaluation of over 2,000 comments and recommendations.
The maritime security requirements published by the Coast Guard in a final rule on October 22, 2003 replace temporary rules originally issued in July.
The final requirements effect significant changes in security practices within all segments of the maritime industry, including both vessel and terminal operations.
The new finalized regulations will require the maritime industry to develop security "enhanced" security measures; conduct security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and determine exactly what security measures need to be implemented; develop security plans that "allow flexibility to deal with unique security aspects as identified in the assessment;" and submit all security plans to the US Coast Guard for approval "to ensure consistency" throughout the industry.
In addition, the industry will have to formulate plans that allows for more moderate measures under "normal circumstances," while ensuring the ability to tighten security when necessary; create a network of personnel to focus on security issues and provide additional "informed eyes and ears;" and install Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) technology aboard large ships to increase the ability to differentiate between law-abiding and suspect vessels by allowing for "comprehensive, virtually instantaneous vessel tracking and monitoring."
The full text of the final rules can be found at http://www.gpoaccess.gov.
An information line - 800-842-8740, ext. 69270 - has been set-up to answer queries about the new regulations.
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