Few ports implement 'anti-terror' laws

Very few ports around the world have complied with tough new "anti-terror" laws due to take effect on 1 July, an expert working for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has warned.

    Only 34 ports worldwide have approved security plans

    Frank Wall, a consultant with the United Nations maritime body, told a security seminar on Monday that the majority of some 55,000 ships operating worldwide are on their way to complying with the IMO security measures. 

    But only 34 of an estimated 15,000 ports worldwide have approved security plans, he said. The rules, known as the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, are required for all ports, oil and gas terminals and merchant ships that engage in international trade. 

    Singapore has recently warned of the need to tighten security along the busy Malacca Strait as it fears tankers may be hijacked and turned it into a floating bombs. 

    Thirty percent of the world's trade and 80% of Japan's crude oil is transported through the Straits, a narrow corridor between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. 

    Lacking information

    "We know less about ports than we do about ships. We have less information about ports partly because countries are not putting out the information," Wall said. 

    "We know less about ports than we do about ships. We have less information about ports partly because countries are not putting out the information"

    Frank Wall, 
    A consultant with the United Nations maritime body

    "I think basically because the focus initially was seen on ships, the message didn't get down to port facilities as fast as it should have," said Wall, who was formerly the head of shipping policy at the United Kingdom's Department for Transport. 

    Wall said some countries are holding back information on port compliance levels until they have the complete data while others, like the United Kingdom, with its involvement in Iraq, are not putting out lists of non-compliant ports for security reasons. 

    He added some countries do not have the necessary legislation in place, while others have not even appointed the authority responsible for port facility security. 

    'Worried'

    "We are worried but we haven't got the information to say how worried," Wall said, but added that more data on the compliance of ports may be available by mid-June. 

    IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos, who visited Singapore last week, said statistics from 35 governments with 5578 port facilities, showed only about 23% have submitted security plans. Only 301 have been approved. 

    Singapore, the world's largest container trans-shipment hub, has said its port facilities and more than 90% of Singapore-flagged vessels comply with the IMO code. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.