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Cargo Ships Too Risky for Terrorists

Posted By Diem Salmon On February 7, 2008 @ 11:43 am In Security | Comments Disabled

On February 4, the Hormcliff, on charter to fruit giant Del Monte, arrived at Falmouth Dock with a 300 mm hole on the port side [1]. The hole was caused by a container that was lost overboard. A total of 58 refrigerated 40ft containers were lost at sea during a storm. Only 41 remained on board, including four that were badly damaged. Unfortunately, containers are not as secure as one may think. Security analysts warn that terrorists may use a cargo container to smuggle a nuclear bomb and detonate it in a major port. But do not fear, because this is one of the least likey forms of a terrorist attack.

Alane Kochems of The Heritage Foundation, points this out in her policy paper entitled “Taking a Global Approach to Maritime Security [2].” Her argument against demands to screen every container includes:
• The nuke-in-box is an unlikely terrorist tactic. A terrorist would use a private water craft that is safer and more secure
• Terrorists could easily employ another tactic
• Searching every container is inefficient and expensive
• There is no viable business case for hardening ship containers

To reinforce Kochem’s third point colleague Dr. James Carafano, points out that the mandate (Secured Freight Initiative 2006) is a non-logical policy that requires 100 percent inspection of every container (Read “A Second Look at Container Security: Lessons from Hong Kong [3].”) It is too costly, time consuming, and in reality terrorists are less than likely to use a cargo container to launch an attack on the United States.


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/02/07/cargo-ships-too-risky-for-terrorists/

URLs in this post:

[1] arrived at Falmouth Dock with a 300 mm hole on the port side: http://lloydslist.com/ll/news/viewArticle.htm;jsessionid=0E4F3434A3DB871C09ECBCA943BCE001?articleId=20017501272

[2] Taking a Global Approach to Maritime Security: http://www.heritage.org/Research/HomelandSecurity/em980.cfm

[3] A Second Look at Container Security: Lessons from Hong Kong: http://www.heritage.org/Research/HomelandSecurity/wm1788.cfm

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