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Maritime Security: A Status Report

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 6 Issue: 3 Dated: 2008 Pages: 26,28,29
Larry Kahaner
Date Published
3 pages
This article describes the “layered approach” to port security being used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The “layered approach” is designed to stop questionable cargo before it enters a U.S. port. Once at a U.S. port, other detection methods are used to ensure that dangerous containers are kept off of U.S. roads and rails. An early layer of defense is the Container Security Initiative (CSI), under which U.S. officials check cargo before it leaves the dock of a foreign port destined for the United States. Through CSI, many foreign ports that previously did not use or possess nonintrusive inspection equipment now have either purchased their own or have access to such equipment. Currently, CSI involves 58 ports worldwide, which addresses 85 percent of the container traffic destined for the United States. Building upon the success of CSI, the first phase of the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) became fully operational in October 2007. Three ports--Southampton in the United Kingdom, Puerto Cortes in Honduras, and Port Qasim in Pakistan--are now scanning 100 percent of containers heading for the United States. This effort to prevent dangerous cargo from leaving foreign ports for the United States is currently being upgraded by the “10 plus 2 rule,” which provides for adding additional data elements from importers on cargo loaded at foreign ports. A second security layer pertains to security at U.S. ports. This article describes the program that requires a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), which is a biometric smartcard for identifying anyone working at U.S. ports who has unescorted access to secure areas. In addition, port security procedures are focusing on control of small boat traffic coming into U.S. ports.