News Archive - August 2004

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Singapore using maritime crisis management software: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has added terrorism-related scenarios to its maritime drills. An important tool for emergency planning and crisis management is software that predicts how oil slicks and hazardous gases disperse at sea. A typical classroom scenario depicts oil or chemical tankers that are sabotaged by terrorists. The software, built in the US and modified by the MPA, removes the guesswork from forecasting how a cloud of gas would move. The software contains tide patterns of the area, and is updated twice a year to take into account ongoing reclamation work and dredging activities. Wind data, and water and air temperatures would be updated hourly in an emergency, and information on specific events would be keyed in. See "'God's eye' view to combat terror at sea," David Boey, The Straits Times, 8/31/04.

Lawsuit hopes to stop longline fishing of swordfish: Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit yesterday in US District Court charging that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated federal law by reopening swordfish fishing without first preparing an environmental impact statement. Earthjustice filed the suit on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Ka Iwa Kua Lele and the Turtle Island Restoration Network. The groups fear longline fishing practices could cause the extinction of the endangered leatherback sea turtle, and are killing thousands of protected albatrosses. The National Marine Fisheries Service spokeswoman Wende Goo is studying the lawsuit. See "Groups sue over fishing longline for swordfish," Anthony Sommer, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 8/31/04.

Tasman Sea may be heating up fast: Preliminary results from a CSIRO global climate model suggest that the Tasman Sea off Australia's east coast may be warming by 1.5-2 degrees for every one degree of warming in surrounding waters. If these results are confirmed, a new research body, the CSIRO-led Wealth From Oceans National Research Flagship, will begin to study the possible effects for Australia. Southern bluefin tuna and whales are among the creatures that regularly pass through the Tasman Sea; their migratory routes will have to be monitored. Craig Roy is director of the new flagship research program, which will also make better use of Argo floats. These sea-going robots are ideal for Australia's large maritime territory, since they can survive deep below the surface, and periodically surface to transmit data to satellites. See "Tasman ecology feeling the heat," Bernard Lane, The Australian, 8/27/04.

Sport fishing damages fish stocks: People fishing for sport are doing more damage to US marine fish stocks than anyone thought, and may account for nearly a quarter of the catch from overfished species. The impact on saltwater fish is even more dramatic. Researchers, led by Felicia Coleman of Florida State University, studied US government data, and are publishing their results in the journal Science. Until now, recreational fishing has been operating below the radar screen of management. But there are currently 10 million sport fishermen fishing in saltwater; even if individuals take relatively few fish, the numbers of fishermen can have an enormous impact. The US Commission on Ocean Policy already regulates recreational fishing, but the growth in the sport, and the impact it is having, has startled both researchers and the anglers. The Recreational Fishing Alliance, a Washington-based lobby group, had no immediate comment on the report. See "Fishing Just for Fun Damages Stocks, Study Finds," Maggie Fox, Reuters at ABCNEWS.com, 8/26/04.

US port security is underfunded: Former US Coast Guard commander Stephen Flynn reported on discrepancies in security funding to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee panel in Washington on Wednesday. US ports have received 10 percent of what's needed, while aviation facilities have received 90 percent of such funding. However, because the geographic are involved is much larger, maritime security is much more difficult to deal with. Former Navy secretary John Lehman, a member of the commission that reviewed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, told the House hearing that US ports remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Lehman warned that "No strategic analysis has been done that relates the level of risk to resources that have been allocated." While significant improvements have been made to port security, both ports and the Coast Guard are underfunded. See "U.S. ports' security funding is lacking," Rip Watson, Bloomberg News at The Seattle Times, 8/26/04.

Tapping the ocean's energy: Worries about global warming and rising oil prices are making renewable energy sources more popular. According to the Department of Energy, waves could generate 2 terawatts of electricity — enough to meet the world's current electricity needs. Energy embodied in the world's ocean currents and tides is twice that much. However, only a small percentage of this could be tapped, and thus far efforts to do so have cost more than the energy they've generated. Over the years, a number of wave turbine prototypes by companies in several countries have either broken down or been commercial failures. Although wave energy is considered a long shot, a number of researchers will be conducting various experiments in the coming months aimed at generating electricity from the sea. See "Seas Seen as Viable Power Source," Stephen Leahy, Wired News, 8/26/04.

Threats to the Barents Sea ecosystem: A report released at the Offshore Northern Seas Conference in Stavanger, Norway, warns that there are serious issues threatening the unique Barents Sea Arctic ecosystem. An absence of long-term planning and legislation are the main causes of these threats. The report was prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA). The overexploitation of fish stocks, including cod and haddock, is considered the most urgent problem for the region right now. Pollution - particularly risks associated with the expansion of oil and gas industries - was identified as the next most important concern. Analysts have projected a six-fold increase in oil and gas transportation through the region, which increases the risk of accidental spills. Nuclear waste storage is another serious problem, as the Murmansk region houses more radioactive waste than any other area in the world. The fourth most important issue identified is the introduction of invasive species - both by intention, as is the case with the red king crab, and by accident. The report recommends that new regulations should be adopted, and existing agreements should be enforced. You can download the report, "Barents Sea, GIWA Regional assessment 11," from GIWA.

Sustaining Britain's shipbuilding industry: Commercial shipbuilding in the UK has fared badly in recent years, due in large part to competition from the Far East. Many yards that are still in business rely on naval orders to keep going. But the industry is also concerned that a glut of defense orders could be followed by a drought, which might cause more harm to the industry. In response, Rear Admiral Ric Cheadle, director of land and maritime programs at the Defence Procurement Agency, will be chairing a summit to determine how best to sustain the shipbuilding industry in Britain. Shipbuilders and marine engineers, including BAE Systems, Thales, VT Group Swan Hunter and Rolls Royce, will be among those attending the summit on October 11. See "Summit talks to keep shipbuilders afloat," Oliver Morgan, The Observer, 8/22/04.

Hope for coral reefs comes from electricity: The coral reef on Bali's northwestern coast has suffered over the years from things like an El Nino bleaching, and an infestation of starfish, but the worst offender has been the adoption of destructive fishing practices. But a new project has dramatically improved the health of the reef. Four years ago, Tom Goreau of the United States and Wolf Hilbertz of Germany started using low-voltage electrical current to stimulate regrowth. The change has been dramatic. The stimulated coral grows between five and 10 times faster than normal, its color is brighter, and it is more resilient to hot weather and pollution. The reef was described as a "wasteland" when the project first started, but now it is attracting fish again. The researchers say the amount of electricity used in a week is equal to burning a single 60-watt bulb for a month, which makes the technique available to countries that lack funding for more expensive methods to regenerate or improve their coral reefs. See "Electricity Revives Coral Reef," Associated Press at Wired News, 8/22/04.

Fears that sunken WW II ship could explode: The Liberty ship USS Richard Montgomery arrived in the Thames on August 20, 1944, carrying bombs to help the Allied forces push into France. But the ship ran aground on a mud bank. A salvage operation was abandoned when the cost grew too great, leaving almost 14,000 explosive devices in two of its forward holds. A report in the print version of New Scientist magazine suggests that any number of events — both natural and deliberate — could set the bombs off, resulting in one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions ever. A 1999 Government risk assessment was never published but two years later the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency agreed to act. Some of the strategies being considered are burying the ship in sand or cement, or evacuating the 11,000 people living nearby while the bombs are removed. See "1,400-ton timebomb," Jane Kerr, Mirror.co.uk, 8/18/04.

UN to use technology to fight high seas terrorism: The United Nations labor agency, the International Labour Organization, has announced that Convention No. 185 has received the necessary ratification to go into force by February. The Convention seeks to balance the imperatives of security with the rights and freedoms of maritime workers, and facilitate mobility in the exercise of their profession. The proposed standards include a new "biometric template" which turns two fingerprints of a seafarer into an internationally standardized 2-D barcode on the Seafarer's Identity Document. Until now there have been no mandatory specifications for international identity documents. See the press release "UN-backed maritime identification to go into force to fight terrorism" from the United Nations, 8/18/04.

Regulating pollution at California ports: California's ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is the country's largest seaport complex, and the biggest single air polluter in the Los Angeles region. Both ports are expected to grow significantly as well, because the amount of cargo going through them is expected to quadruple by 2025. So California legislators are considering bill AB 2042, which would require the complex to keep its air emissions at or below 2004 levels. The measure is opposed by port and industry groups that argue it could eliminate jobs, raise costs and weaken the area economy. Clean air activists and local residents call the bill a necessity, citing studies linking diesel emissions from ships, trucks and trains with an abnormally high cancer risk around the ports and area freeways. The bill is drawing nationwide attention as other ports start to expand. See "Bill Would Cap Pollution at Ports at 2004 Levels," Deborah Schoch, Los Angeles Times, 8/18/04.

Dismantling Russia's Cold War submarines: About 40 decommissioned nuclear submarines, mostly built during the Cold War era by the former Soviet Union, have been left to rust at several ports in Russia's Far Eastern region. Particularly since they still contain their nuclear reactors, the boats are a major pollution hazard. When traces of spent nuclear fuel were found in the Sea of Japan in 1993, Japan and Russia entered into a cooperative agreement to dismantle the vessels. While little progress has been made, a Victor-III multipurpose submarine is being dismantled now in a dockyard near Vladivostok, and is due to be completed in October. Since the first project has gone well, Japan and Russia have agreed on a second project, to dismantle a Victor-I class multipurpose submarine. This project is expected to begin in 2005. See "Japan, Russia OK plan to dismantle 2nd N-sub," Yomiuri Shimbun, 8/18/04.

US wants to send 36 more ships to the UK for scrapping: In 2003 Able UK signed a deal with the US Maritime Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, to dismantle 13 of the decommissioned vessels in the James River at a dry dock facility in Hartlepool. That plan has been delayed by environmental concerns, planning permits, and lawsuits; four ships are in England, untouched, six of the ships originally earmarked for the Able contract have been sent to scrapyards in Texas, and the legal cases holding up sending any nine additional ships to the UK keeps getting delayed. Now it has emerged that the US government wants to substitute the outstanding nine vessels with 36. Marad claims that some of the ships in question don't contain PCBs, and so the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to allow their export. See "Court to decide on 'ghost ships'," BBC News, 8/18/04.

Potential new jobs causes deluge at Los Angeles area ports: Los Angeles area ports will add 3,000 new dockworkers, hoping to alleviate delays at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach caused by a boom in cargo shipping from China. The union expected to get a large number of applicants, and so is using a drawing system to select new hires. But a conservative estimate on Tuesday put the number of mailed-in applications at between 220,000 and 250,000, and that number could climb higher before Thursday's lottery. The port jobs are highly desirable, as they will pay between two and three times the average entry-level wage in Los Angeles County. And the new jobs are opening up just as the state released a report that California's employers cut a net 17,300 jobs in July. See "With Deluge, Longshore Jobs Become Long Shots," Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times, 8/18/04.

US denies plan to sell Aegis ships to Taiwan: A source close to the US Department of Defense has denied a a story reported in the China Times on Monday that the United States was in the process of approving the sale of Aegis ships to Taiwan. The US defense source stated, "Taiwan hasn't submitted any Letter of Request this year; therefore, it is impossible that the US would make such an announcement." The article "U.S. denies sale of AEGIS ships to proceed soon" (Taiwan News at Taiwan Headlines, 8/17/04), offers numerous theories concerning the proposed US/Taiwan arms deal, the place Aegis-equipped ships might play in that, and possible reasons why the story was published in the China Times.

Increased patrols in the Malacca Strait have helped control pirates: According to piracy reports from the International Maritime Bureau, the Malacca Strait has been safer since Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore started increasing patrols along the waterway on July 20. Only one serious attack, which involved a hostage, has been reported. However, not all incidents are brought to the notice of the Bureau's reporting center in a timely manner, or at all. Most agree more time will be needed to determine just how effective the new patrols are. The three countries have already started discussing additional measures they might take to protect the area. See "Piracy in Malacca Strait down as patrols increase," K.C. Vijayan, The Straits Times, 8/16/04.

London may lose status of world's biggest shipping center: While London remains the world's center for ship brokering, legal services and insurance, Shanghai, Singapore and Athens are offering fierce competition. A report commissioned by Maritime London, a promotional body, suggests that London could lose its top position in as little as ten years. A potential threat to London's position is a proposed reform to nondomicile tax status, which might encourage Greek ship owners — the backbone of the UK shipping community — to leave London. Richard Sayer, chairman of Maritime London, has urged the UK Government to do more to support British maritime services, particularly since foreign countries are actively promoting their own maritime centers. The maritime services sector provides more than 14,000 jobs in London and generates more than £1 billion in net overseas earnings for the country. See "London's shipping status on the rocks," Jon Ashworth, Times Online, 8/16/04.

US may approve sale of Aegis ships to Taiwan: The China Times quoted unidentified sources as saying the United States has agreed to sell four Aegis-equipped destroyers to Taiwan in a $3.5 billion deal. So far, the US has only offered less advanced Kidd-class destroyers. If the deal goes through, delivery would likely begin in 2011. Taiwan's defense ministry said it had not received any word from Washington about the vessels, although Ministry of National Defense spokesman Huang Suey-sheng said Taiwan would be interested in the purchase. See "Report: U.S. to Approve Sale of Aegis Ships to Taiwan," Reuters at Yahoo! News, 8/15/04.

Sailing at the Olympics: There will be eleven sailing events in the 2004 Olympic Games. Four will be for men; four will be for women; and three will have men and women competing together. The sailing events will take place at the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre from August 14 to 28, 2004. The official web site of the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad has sailing information, with official race results (scroll down). The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) web site is also regularly updated with race information. For those in the US, Bravo is telecasting sailing events; the Jobson Sailing web site has compiled a handy TV schedule. In the UK, BBC is telecasting sailing events.

BAE Systems will not sell shipyards: BAE Systems has said a review of their warship yards is ongoing, but the company is expected to rule out a sale when it announces its first-half earnings on September 9. Potential buyers included VT Group (the only company interested in acquiring the Clydeside yards), US defense contractor General Dynamics, French group Thales and American private equity house Carlyle. However, none of the potential buyers was willing to meet BAE's price. Comments from one executive suggest the sale was a ploy to get a better deal from the MoD on building two navy aircraft carriers. Including support services, the three yards employ 5,250 people. See "BAE gives up on selling naval yards," David Gow, The Guardian, 8/14/04.

US Coast Guard want ships to check in sooner: Under current international tracking regulations, ships must be equipped with an identification system by December 2004 that broadcasts their position and other information when they come within about 50 miles of a country's coast. Admiral Thomas Collins, commandant of the US Coast Guard, said on Tuesday that the United States is discussing the possibility of extending that range with the International Maritime Organization. The US wants to require commercial vessels within 2000 miles of a country's shores to identify themselves and give their location. Collins said the long-range tracking system was one of many ongoing efforts to improve US maritime security, and gave no details on a possible timeframe, or how open to the idea the IMO is. See "US wants ships within 2000 miles to check in," Reuters at New Zealand News, 8/11/04.

Taiwan may pay less for US arms deal: Taiwan may be able to cut the cost of an $18 billion US arms deal by about $3 billion, a newspaper quoted defense officials as saying on Wednesday after lawmakers complained about the price tag. The three-year-old arms deal, which would be the biggest weapons sale to Taiwan in a decade, has been delayed by budget concerns as some lawmakers balked at the cost. The price of eight diesel-engine submarines, previously estimated at T$412.14 billion (US$12 billion), could be reduced by "at least T$60 billion" if Taiwan did not insist on building the vessels itself, the United Daily News reported. The United States no longer builds diesel submarines and has yet to find a contractor to make them. The United Daily News said Washington was most likely to sell Taiwan Spanish submarines but gave no other details. Washington was expected to give a new price estimate in October. See "Taiwan Aims To Slash Cost of U.S. Arms Purchase," Agence France-Presse at DefenseNews.com, 8/11/04.

Rising steel prices hurt Asian shipyards: The price of steel plates rose as much as 70 percent this year, driven higher by demand from China. As steel comprises about 18 percent of a shipbuilder's cost, many expect second quarter profits to fall. Song Yung Sun, an analyst at Seoul-based Korea Investment Trust Management Co., suggests a 30 percent increase in the price of steel lowers operating profit margins by an average 4.5 percentage points. South Korean shipbuilders get 77 percent of their steel plates from only two of the nation's steel mills, which have raised their prices eight times since January; the spot price of hot-rolled steel imported by China rose 52 percent in the past year; Japanese steel makers may raise the price for heavy plates to South Korea's shipbuilders. Rising costs for steel comes as shipyards are completing orders they received in 2001 and 2002, when ship prices were at 10 year lows. Until yards start to book more 2003 orders at higher prices, profits could fall further. See "Daewoo Shipbuilding, South Korean Dockyards May Say Profit Fell," Kyunghee Park, Bloomberg, 8/10/04.

Three more Ghost Fleet ships go to Texas: Another three ships from the James River "Ghost Fleet" will be scrapped in Texas. The Santa Isabel, the American Ranger, and the Mormacwave will all be sent to ESCO Marine, of Brownsville, Texas; the first three ships will be scrapped at Marine Metals. There are about 60 decommissioned Navy ships in Virginia's James River, and another 40 more nationwide that need to be disposed of by the September 2006 congressional deadline. With this new contract, six ships will leave Virginia this year, and the US Maritime Administration says they expect to award more disposal contracts soon. The six ships in the two Texas contracts were originally supposed to go to England. But with the Able UK deal delayed probably until next year, MarAd decided to send the high-priority ships to domestic yards and send other, more seaworthy vessels to England, if all legal issues are settled. See "3 Ghost Fleet ships to be dismantled at Texas salvage yard," Scott Harper, The Virginian-Pilot, 8/10/04.

UK's MoD funds new sonar system: Despite growing evidence that modern low-frequency sonar technologies harm marine mammals, the UK's Ministry of Defence has earmarked £340m for a new submarine sonar system. Many have questioned the decision, since no public meetings have been held to discuss the issue, and environmentalists believe the introduction of the new radar violates marine laws to which the UK has signed up. But despite these concerns, and recent cuts on the MoD budget, negotiations for the sonar sets to be fitted to six UK vessels have just begun. If the technology performs well in secret trials, it will be officially accepted in 18 months. Defence chiefs insist that the new technology will enhance the ability of British vessels to detect, classify and track enemy submarines that 'remain one of the main threats to our maritime forces in times of conflict.' See "Whales at risk in sonar sea exercises," Mark Townsend, The Observer, 8/8/04.

Cocklers rescued at Morecambe Bay: British emergency services have rescued 144 cocklers, or shellfish diggers, who had been trapped by rising tide waters on Morecambe Bay, a dangerous stretch of beach because of fast-flowing tides. This is the same part of northwestern England where 21 Chinese migrants were drowned in February. The cocklers were cut off after a collision between two tractor units pulling the trailers on which rival Scottish and Chinese cocklers were being carried. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have recently warned that a repeat of February's tragedy was possible as shellfish stocks declined and the cocklers moved further away from shore. Fights over territory will only exacerbate the situation. This is the 16th rescue of commercial cocklers so far this year. An investigation will be launched into the incident. See "Turf War Blamed for Latest Cocklers Rescue Drama," Neville Dean and Emma Gunby, PA News at The Scotsman.com, 8/7/04.

Security compliance at ports improves: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reports that both ships and port facilities are much closer to compliance with the new security measures developed to protect international shipping from the threat of terrorism, which came into effect on July 1. According to the latest figures available to the IMO Secretariat from reports received by governments and industry sources, 89.5 percent of reporting port facilities have had their Port Facility Security Plans approved, and over 90 percent of reporting ships have been issued International Ship Security Certificates. Despite the overall optimism over implementation, there are still regions that have not been as quick to come into compliance. For example, just over half of the 30 countries in Africa to which the Code applies have had Port Facility Security Plans approved, and countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have also been slow to implement the measures. See "Security compliance shows continued improvement," International Maritime Organization press release, 8/6/04.

US Navy investigates collision between aircraft carrier and wooden dhow: Several US Navy officials have described some of the events that led to the July 22 collision of a small dhow and the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy; because the investigation is under way, some spoke on the condition of anonymity: At some point while a fighter plane was approaching the Kennedy to land, the dhow was detected. Because receiving a plane is a delicate operation, the carrier's commander maintained course. Once the plane landed, the Kennedy began a hard turn to avoid the dhow, but it was too late: the dhow struck the hull and sank, with no survivors. The deck of the carrier pitched sideways with the turn and the just-landed plane slid into a second fighter. Both planes were damaged but can be repaired, and no people were hurt. Small boats have been used to purposefully damage ships in the past, but so far there is nothing to indicate that the July event was anything other than an accident. The investigation is focusing on how the dhow was able to get so close to the aircraft carrier. See "Navy investigates warship, boat collision," John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8/5/04.

Britain's top Navy officer mentions threat to shipping: The Royal Navy's First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sir Alan West, said in an interview published on Thursday that al Qaeda has plans to target merchant shipping. He stated that Western governments have intelligence that shows extreme groups view ships as iconic targets, and have plans to blow them up in a bid to disrupt world trade. A Defense Ministry spokesman said the comments related to existing naval intelligence, and were not based on new attack-specific reports. Rather, the admiral mentioned the maritime threat because he was visiting Gibraltar, a region with a significant shipping industry. While the threat is not new, the warning by a senior military figure is likely to throw the spotlight back on the maritime industry and efforts to tighten security. See "UK Navy: Al Qaeda Has Plan to Target Shipping," Stefano Ambrogi, Reuters at Yahoo! News, 8/5/04.

Preparing vessels to become artificial reefs: The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) have developed guidance for preparing vessels to be sunk to create artificial reefs. The guidance was formulated in response to MARAD's request for EPA's assistance in identifying potential management options for their decommissioned vessel fleet. EPA's document will offer an approach for planning and executing environmentally sound vessel-to-reef projects. This guidance could be used by permitting authorities to determine if vessels have been sufficiently cleaned for placement as a reef that benefits the environment. The document does not substitute for any statute or regulation, nor is it a regulation itself. Currently in draft form, "The Draft National Guidance: Best Management Practices for Preparing Vessels Intended to Create Artificial Reefs" is available for public comment through October 1, 2004. See "Creating Artificial Reefs" from the US EPA.

Iran still deciding on fate of British boats: Six British marines and two sailors were detained by Iran in June for straying into Iranian territorial waters. Iran insists the boats were taken only after they entered into their territory, but British officials say it appears the men and their boats were forced over the maritime border. Britain can't prove their case unless it recovers GPS navigational equipment on the boats, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards have not released a decision yet. Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam news channel reported on Tuesday that "some discussions have taken place," but it isn't clear if the Guard had yet to decide if the boats would be returned, or if it was merely a question of procedure. See "Iran to decide on seized British boats soon," The News, 8/4/04.

Staten Island Ferry officer admits he lied: Assistant Captain Richard Smith admitted that he was taking five drugs for conditions including high blood pressure in the month before the Staten Island Ferry accident last October. Two drugs with side effects that can include drowsiness were in his system at the time of the crash; he was at the helm of the Andrew J Barberi when it crashed. Smith pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Wednesday, and acknowledged that he had passed out at the ship's controls. He also admitted to lying about his medical conditions because he was afraid he would lose his job. Director of ferry operations Patrick Ryan was also charged with manslaughter, along with obstruction of justice and lying to the Coast Guard after the crash. He was cited for his alleged failure to provide proper procedures for operating the ferries, and for subsequently claiming he had done so. Captain Michael Gansas was charged with making a false statement to the Coast Guard, while the same indictment charged port captain John Mauldin with obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to the National Transportation Safety Board. See "NYC ferry assistant captain pleads guilty to manslaughter, lying," Associated Press at USA Today, 8/4/04.

Technology change in US ports is slow: Before the September 11 terrorist attacks, the main focus at US ports was to move cargo as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Now, ports must also focus on meeting federal and international mandates for increased security. So far, the role that information technology can and should play in port security has been slow in coming. Members of the National Safe Waterways and Seaports Alliance in Alcoa, Tennessee, are concerned that many ports don't really know what they need to do, or how to do it, and believe that more federal oversight is needed. The group also worries that ports don't test the systems they do install thoroughly enough. The article "Covering the Waterfront" (Linda Rosencrance, Computerworld, 8/2/04), takes a look at how six ports are using IT to address security. Included are the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas; the North Carolina State Ports Authority, which manages the seaports in Wilmington and Morehead City; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the Port of Seattle, Washington; and the ports of Oakland and San Diego in California.

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