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Friday, September 29, 2006

US State Department on protecting container ships from terrorists

Following up on the speech of Thomas Lehrman, director of the State Department's Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism, see here, in which he
,,,, stressed, international coordination among specialists in weapons design, transportation and international finance is needed to prevent illegal shipments of WMD.
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Lehrman emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships in an era when more than 90 percent of global trade in goods is transported in containers through the maritime supply chain, making ports and related infrastructure "an inviting target."
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Illicit WMD traffickers such as A.Q. Khan have used the maritime supply chain to transport WMD materials and delivery systems, he said, making the Proliferation Security Initiative an important effort to confront this threat. With more than 75 nations supporting PSI, Lehrman said more than 30 high-risk shipments have been stopped, including centrifuge parts en route to Libya.
A related piece here, describes a Proliferation Security Initiative workshop in London in which 20 nations participated:
David Cooper, director of nonproliferation policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, led the U.S. delegation to the London workshop. He said the workshop identified "how governments working with maritime industry, can intercept WMD-related shipments, while minimizing the disruption of legitimate cargo flows." For Cooper, the London gathering reflected continued efforts by PSI governments and industry partners to cooperate against WMD-related proliferation traffickers.

The workshops are also important sources of information for the PSI Operational Experts Group, which develops concepts of operation and fosters development of cooperative relationships between PSI governments and industry experts.

This was the third PSI government-industry workshop. A previous workshop on maritime issues took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August 2004, and then an air cargo workshop was held in Los Angeles in September 2005.

Specific topics discussed in London included port governance, the roles of freight forwarders and shipping line owners and operators, the disposition of cargo, implications of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, the government decision-making process, and means by which industry can participate further with PSI supporting nations.
Eternal vigilance is the price of security, too.

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