Containers and terrorism
Mineta Seeks Ship Inspection Limits
As quoted by AP - Associated Press, Washington. (web version here
The Coast Guard would be able to stop and board ships 12 miles from U.S. shores -- four times the current limit -- under proposals made Thursday by Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.
Testifying before a House Transportation subcommittee, Mineta also called for allowing the Transportation Department to conduct security inspections of foreign ports. He said he wants to make permanent a temporary order requiring ships to provide a list of their crewmembers 96 hours before docking in the United States.
Mineta said that measures are needed to help prevent terrorists from shipping hazardous materials through U.S. ports, or from using a fully laden ship as a bomb the way they used four hijacked commercial airplanes Sept. 11.
"A cargo container arriving at a U.S. seaport today can be virtually anywhere in the heartland of America via truck and/or rail tomorrow," Mineta said.
"I am deeply disturbed about port security," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. "I can't imagine a simpler way to distribute a catastrophic device." The transportation secretary told the House subcommittee that the department would look at the vulnerability of major ports, and that local authorities would be asked to develop their own security plans.
Mineta said the Coast Guard should be allowed to patrol within 12 miles of the U.S. coast, with the power to stop, board and inspect ships. The current limit is three miles. He said the department should be allowed to conduct security checks of foreign ports. He called for a rapid response team to quickly enhance port security when there are serious threats of terrorist activity. And he said he was looking at technology to make it possible to quickly inspect sealed containers, rather than do an occasional check while largely taking the shippers' word as to the contents.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said just 1 percent of arriving containers were inspected. "The ease with which a terrorist could smuggle chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons in a container, without detection, is, in a word, hair-raising," said Lieberman, D-Conn.
Note: bold blue italic accentuation by NAVATECH
Important Note: Container security relies very much upon sealing of the containers. The trust in the security value of the seal is misleading, as in reality containers and trucks can be opened without disturbing the integrity of the seal. We have revealed that conventionally applied seals - seal only the handle and not the container, because their implementation is flawed due to the vulnerabilty of the sealing and locking hardware of the container.
NAVATECH is honored and proud to contribute towards a safer transportation network in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks on the US, by providing non-conventional, efficient and cost effective sealing and locking solutions. Our field proven container security equipment, based on firmly uniting both doors, eliminates the vulnerability of the customary seal applications. In order to meet today's security requirements, users apply the NAVALOCK and NAVALINK devices, as a viable move to upgrade their safty measures for sealing containers and trucks.