Skip to comments.Rand Corp. warns of shipping terror threat
Posted on 09/24/2003 7:01:37 AM PDT by NexusEdited on 07/12/2004 3:40:41 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
LONDON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A Rand Corp. study released Tuesday in London warns terrorists might use container ships in terror attacks meant to cause massive casualties.
World Tribune.com says the report warns cargo ships or shipping containers could be used to deliver weapons of mass destruction for terror groups such as al-Qaida.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
RAND EUROPE STUDY SAYS SEA CONTAINERS MAY BE A VEHICLE FOR TRANSPORTING TERRORISM
Terrorists could use containers on ships to transport weapons and dangerous materials, or could use the containers themselves as weapons of mass destruction, according to a report issued by RAND Europe.
Approximately 90 percent of all cargo is shipped in containers, amounting to some 250 million moves annually. The report warns that if sea-container traffic is interruptedeither by acts of terrorism or attempts by governments to counter terrorismthe global economy will be seriously damaged.
The report, titled "Seacurity": Improving the Security of the Global Sea-Container Shipping System, states: "The potential threat of terrorists using containers poses a large risk to our economies and to our societies. Since 11 September 2001, the awareness of terrorists' actions has clearly risen. This increase, however, has not been as substantial in all fields as it has been in the air transport sector. Ultimately, this means that the marine sectorand specifically the container transport sectorremains wide-open to the terrorist threat."
Kevin O'Brien, senior policy analyst at RAND Europe (Cambridge, UK) and one of the authors of the report, said: "It is generally acknowledged that the terrorists will choose the way of least resistance as well as choosing targets that result in widespread media coverage. This coverage is most likely to be provided through attacks resulting in many casualties. Although sea-containers have not been a target in the past compared with air travel, there is no reason why they shouldn't be targets in the future. In fact, some terrorist groups like the Tamil Tigers have actively attacked maritime targets as part of their overall efforts."
Maarten van der Voort, an analyst at RAND Europe (Leiden, Netherlands) and another author of the report said: "The issue of sea-container security is clearly an accident waiting to happen. There is clearly a long way to go to raise awareness of the security issues surrounding sea-containers. We need to plan a strategy of overcoming economic disincentives that quite clearly prevail in the current economic climate. The consultation and this resulting report clearly show the need for governments, authorities and public and private stakeholders to cooperate and work together."
The report follows consultation with world maritime security experts at a workshop organised by RAND Europe in partnership with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission.
The study identifies one clear challenge: a container changes hands several times on its way from its origin to its destination, causing multiple parties to be responsible and liable for the container's contents. Although forwarders, transporters and carriers do accept responsibility and liability for a container, they are dependent upon data provided in the bill of lading, which can be falsified or otherwise fraudulent.
Tracking the whereabouts of a sea-container is also very difficult, the report points out. The real origin of a container can be hidden from officials at the destination, helped by corrupt officials at intermediate ports who are willing to falsify documentation.
Policing ports is another issue, as ownership of the ports is often vague. Most ports are not owned and operated by national governments, which makes the imposition of legislation difficult.
Cost is another problem. Due in part to the low margins within which the industry operates, the ports themselves are reluctant to undertake security measures, such as physically searching or X-raying containers, as this slows down the processing of arriving containers.
Estimates are that the contents of less than 2 percent of all containers are checked to verify what is inside them. This has serious implications in the light of new global terrorism, the report warns.
One of the key issues in sea-container security is that there is currently confusion about ownership and responsibility for the problem. So far there has not been one single stakeholder who can clearly be identified as being responsible for implementing countermeasures.
In the United States, approximately nine governmental agencies have some role in national security regarding the maritime sector, but so far none has taken control over the problem. In Europe, there is even less clear ownership of the problem, with each country taking responsibility for its own national security issues. There is currently no single European body that deals with port and maritime security.
According to the experts who contributed to the report, one of the main barriers to addressing these issues is the distinct lack of awareness of the threat both in the United States and Europe, particularly in the private sector, which overwhelming dominates the sea-container business.
One solution put forward by the report is a "risk analysis" software tool developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in partnership with the European Anti-fraud Office. The package, called "Contraffic", is able to perform a risk analysis on the likelihood that a container is transporting illicit material.
Another solution put forward is to use "active" seals rather than "passive" seals, which the majority of containers currently use. Passive seals do not physically prevent entry into a container as would a lock, but merely indicate whether or not the container has been opened. Active seals are more sophisticated, incorporating several options from showing what is in the containers to signaling the whereabouts of the container using GPS (Global Positioning System).
The RAND Europe report goes on to suggest that a possible solution to the problem of ownership could be found by making one partyeither the shipper or the receiverresponsible for the container's transport. This party would be present at the point of origin where the container is sealed and the point of destination where the cargo is received. However, the main motivator for a private investor is theft preventionthere is little financial motivation to invest in the prevention of global terrorism.
The report also suggests another solution may be to encourage companies with a vested interest in container security to invest in more sophisticated security such as seals. One way of encouraging shippers to buy these seals may be to introduce a security tax, such as is already in place in airports.
Issue Date: 10-27 thru 11-25
Location: West and East Coasts, Gulf Coast, and hotel areas of Hawaii's Waikiki Beach
Attack Type: Nuclear, Biological and Aerial
Target: Washington, DC; NYC, Miami and major shipping ports
Intel Source: Internet, Interrogation, Surveillance and Fatwa
Attack Probability: High (may change to Extremely High at a moment's notice)
Comment: Current intel indicates that the period of Ramadan will initiate an Islamic apocalyptic scenario. In addition to our previous update, shipping ports and shipping containers pre-positioned in their respective ports of call are to be simultaneously detonated. With emphasis on bin Laden being the Mahdi, it must be understood that concurrent with attacks on the US, attacks will occur in western European cities of choice. Developing. . .
Ramadan 2003 = 27 October to 25 November
The Tanzanian tanker, "M. T. Beacon", that disappeared from the northern Mozambican port of Nacala about a month ago, carrying 882,020 tonnes of fuel, is yet to return, reports Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
The fuel, worth about 345,000 US dollars, was to be delivered to Quelimane, the capital of Zambezia province, to supply the central region of the country, and there must now be fears that it has been stolen.
The vessel, hired by the Mozambican company ADECNEL from the Tanzanian firm M.C.J. Shipping, left the port without authorisation, during the night, after it was discovered that its international operating license had expired.
The crew seemed to have made a dash for Tanzania. The ship was last heard of in the southern Tanzanian port of Mtwara, where the crew supposedly dealt with the renewal of its operating licence. But it left Mtwara last week and has not appeared yet in any Mozambican port.
"When someone in Texas City mentions "The Explosion," no explanation is necessary. Everybody in the city knows what happened on April 16, 1947. Many remember it firsthand. That cool spring morning when a ship blew up in the port on Galveston Bay. The blast took nearly 600 lives and millions of dollars in property, and it scarred the town. A half-century later, people in Texas City celebrate their recovery, but still mourn their loss. " Moore Memorial Public Library, Texas City
I bet even Tom Ridge thought of this at least once in the last two years.
We are also improving our capability to interdict lethal materials in transit. Through our Proliferation Security Initiative, eleven nations are preparing to search planes, ships, trains and trucks carrying suspect cargo, and to seize weapons or missile shipments that raise proliferation concerns.
These nations have agreed on a set of interdiction principles, consistent with current legal authorities. And we are working to expand the Proliferation Security Initiative to other countries. We are determined to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from all our shores, and out of the hands of our common enemies.
Because proliferators will use any route or channel that is open to them, we need the broadest possible cooperation to stop them. Today I ask the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new anti-proliferation resolution. This resolution should call on all members of the U.N. to criminalize the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; to enact strict export controls consistent with international standards; and to secure any and all sensitive materials within their own borders. The United States stands ready to help any nation draft these new laws, and to assist in their enforcement.
Here is an opportunity to place more of the cost of fighting terrorism on the global community where it rightly belongs. We are facing increased risks of terrorism because of the global movement of people and trade but in the US the costs of the fight are falling largely on the American public.
The US should station inspectors at all overseas ports sending ships to the USA to open, inspect and certify the safety of containers and the ships. Ship owners and crews should also be invesitgated. Perhaps inspectors should even board and travel the entire way to America with the ship. The total costs of this program should be born by the trading companies and/or sending countries. This risk is entirely due to the existance of international trade and the costs of combatting these risks should be born entirely by those engaged in international trade.
Yes, this will increase the costs of global trade immensely, as it should do to more accurately reflect the true costs and risks of this trade. Once we fold in the real security costs of importing the bulk of our goods from overseas in the price of those goods then the American public may begin to understand the real world costs associated with the "free trade" religion of the political elites. As a benefit, American manufacturing may begin to look better to American globalist elites.
Up until now the elites of both political parties (and this includes most certainly the Bush administration) have demanded that the costs and risks of "globalism" be born by the public at large while the benefits go primarily to the corporate and political elites. Shame on us if we allow this to continue!
Remember, various ports in Florida (particularly Jacksonville, Port Canaveral near the Kennedy Space Center, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Key West and Tampa have some of the largest concentration of cruise ships in the world. These ports are also the home to a massive number of pleasure boats, including the famous Cigarette boat that is capable of speeds as high as 90 mph in open water. Can you imagine a terrorist loading up a Cigarette boat with 500-600 pounds of homemade explosives and ramming the side of a cruise ship at 70 mph? Such a suicide attack would have at least the impact of the Mark 48 torpedo used by US Navy submarines; it could cause many casualties (especially on the newer supersized cruise ships) and damage the cruise ship to the point it would be cheaper to scrap the ship than to repair it.
Why the hell am I still paying 2 zops a gallon?? :)
"The issue of sea-container security is clearly an accident waiting to happen. There is clearly a long way to go to raise awareness of the security issues surrounding sea-containers. We need to plan a strategy of overcoming economic disincentives that quite clearly prevail in the current economic climate. The consultation and this resulting report clearly show the need for governments, authorities and public and private stakeholders to cooperate and work together."
Because the Islamokazis that run OPEC have decided to use the oil weapon again.
carrying 882,020 tonnes of fuel, is yet to return, reports Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias". The fuel, worth about 345,000 US dollars
Noted. That story is very vague as to details (Is it 87-octane unleaded, diesel #2, JP-5, heavy oil, or something else; is that worth wholesale, retail; what, if any, taxes/fees are part of that price). Assuming that is gasoline (even with that assumption, it probably wouldn't be usable anywhere in North America), that would translate to $1.05-$1.15/gallon.
US Aircraft carriers displace less than 100,000 tons, fully loaded.
If I was to guess, I'd say that the tanker was holding 882.02 tonnes; about 300,000 gallons.
As for the article, DUH. Lots of people have pointed out the container shipping "vulnerability." It didn't take a RAND study to figure this one out.