3/5/2008 Container Security Initiative Targets High Risk Cargo for Inspection at Foreign Seaports
Imagine: a dirty bomb is found in the Port of Newark. An agent of Al Qaeda is arrested in Baltimore and admits that he is part of a team to bring dirty bombs into five U.S. ports. Two days later, radiation is detected on two ships at the Port of Oakland and the Coast Guard requires the ships to go out to sea for inspection. All U.S. ports are shut down for 48 hours. The Dow drops 1,000 points. Facts like these have been considered in simulated war games to determine the economic impact of a dirty bomb entering a U.S. port. In October 2006, the President signed the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (popularly known as the SAFE Port Act), requiring Customs and Border Protection to take risk factors including cargo volume into account when designating seaports as Container Security Initiative (CSI) participants. There are 58 seaports in this initiative, and by 2010 86% of all U.S.-bound container cargo will pass through participating seaports. High risk containers not going through such seaports will be searched on reaching the U.S. A recent GAO report looks at where container security stands now, and what remains to be done. This, and recent legislative developments, will be analyzed in the March issue of the Monitor.
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