From pronouncements by various world leaders to contract clauses to regulatory action to reports, last week saw a number of developments relevant to maritime transportation security. Here follow some short notes on some of them, in more or less chronolog

Dec 9, 2010 12:00 AM
African and European Leaders Address Terrorism and Maritime Security The Heads of State and Governments of Africa and the European Union held their triennial meeting in Tripoli, Libya on November 29th and 30th, after which they issued the Tripoli Declaration. Amongst many issues discussed in two and a half pages, they commented on both terrorism and maritime security. They condemned "all forms of terrorism" and promised to cooperate "closely" in addressing this threat and its financing. They also "jointly" agreed to "address Maritime security challenges of particular concern to both continents including pollution of seas and oceans." 
 
BIMCO Issues Charter Party Clauses to deal with EU Advance Cargo Declarations On November 30th, an influential private shipping organization, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), announced the availability for free download of model clauses, for time and voyage charters, dealing with the EU's Advance Cargo Declaration Rules. These rules will go into effect January 1st. The purpose of the clauses is to allocate responsibilities for compliance with the new regime between the shipowner and the charterer. "Under the voyage charter party version it is the shipowner who assumes the role of •carrier' for the purpose of the clause and thus responsibility for compliance with the Rules. Under the time charter party version the responsibility rests with the charterer acting as •carrier'." 
 
Atlantic Council Report Deals with Maritime Security off West Africa Also on the 30th, an influential foreign policy think tank, the Atlantic Council, issued a report by John Raidt and Kristen E. Smith entitled Advancing U.S., African, and Global Interests: Security and Stability in the West African Maritime Domain. It urges greater US and international attention to the countries bordering the energy-rich Gulf of Guinea. Among the Strategic Objectives identified are to "Ensure the Safety and Security of Ports, vessels, and Cargo" and "Protect the Flow of Oil and Security of related infrastructure." The report cites a number of problems affecting maritime security in the region, which will soon become the largest energy supplier to the US. Unfavorable trends include: the convergence of international terrorist groups and South American drug cartels; advances made by terrorists and local insurgent groups with local populations; the growth of piratical acts in the maritime domain to a point rivaling, and possibly exceeding the quantum of Somali piracy; the theft of oil and gas wealth by officialdom; and, in an echo of Somalia, poaching by European and Asian fishing fleets, as well as extensive dumping of wastes in the Gulf. The authors describe current US efforts as "uncoordinated, unfocused, under resourced, and not yet hitting the mark." The report's "Featured Recommendations include: a formal interagency coordination mechanism for the planning and delivery of maritime security assistance, a proof-of-concept model project with one or two West African countries to develop conditions and capabilities for maritime security; development (by working with the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa) of regional maritime security capabilities with shared assets, joint operations, and designated functions; and maximum use of the US-Nigerian Bilateral Commission and other means to engage other countries in order to promote regional stability and political and economic development. The authors recommend that these "centerpiece initiatives" be undertaken together with all of the rest of their recommendations. While the report starts with a premise of vital US and global, interests in the furthering of maritime security in the region, it acknowledges that ultimately the countries in the region must take the lead. 
 
Chinese FM Speaks, Barely, of Maritime Security On December 1st, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi delivered the keynote speech at the First Lanting Forum in Beijing. Over 70 diplomatic envoys from foreign embassies and representatives from international organizations, China-based foreign business leaders, experts, scholars, and Chinese and foreign journalists heard the address, entitled "Shape the Future of Asia Pacific with Confidence and Cooperation." Although regional security issues featured significantly throughout the six and a half page speech, maritime security, in general, and maritime transportation security, in particular, was relegated to a single sentence: "We should join hands to fight terrorism and piracy to safeguard maritime security and normal trade flows." While hosted by China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), the Forum, which was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appears to be a public diplomacy effort by China to spread understanding of Chinese policies. The theme of the inaugural forum was "The Situation in the Asia Pacific and China's Policy." 
 
USCG Provides Formal Notice of Revision to Counter-Piracy Maritime Security Directive The Coast Guard published a Federal Register Notice of Availability on December 3rd announcing the release of Revision 4 of Maritime Security Directive 104-6, "Guidelines for U.S. Vessels Operating in High Risk Waters." I previously discussed the modifications made by the Revision, at least those revealed by Port Security Advisory (2-09)(Rev. 2), the sanitized version of this Sensitive Security Information directive. According to the Notice, this Revision "provides clarification for U.S. flagged vessels berthed or anchored in high risk waters. Vessels at anchor should operate in a manner consistent with vessels that transit through high risk waters." I had also speculated that the Revision might have made changes to areas considered to be High Risk Waters. The current Notice doesn't indicate that any such changes were made. Since the Notice of Availability for Revisions 2 and 3 indicated that Revision 2 listed additional High Risk Waters and the current Notice indicates that Revision 1 had also updated the list of High Risk Waters, it seems unlikely that Revision 4 has done so. Maritime Security Directive 104-6 (Rev. 4) is available to owners and operators of US-flagged vessels that make international voyages (from their local Captain of the Port or cognizant District Commander). Appropriate owners and operators will be required to prove that they are "covered persons" with a "need to know" under the Sensitive Security Information (SSI) regulations and that they will safeguard the SSI in the Maritime Security Directive in accordance with those regulations. 
 
GAO Issues Maritime Security Report on Ferries Also on December 3rd, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a sanitized version of a "sensitive" report on the security of the Nation's ferry systems that had been delivered to Congress in October. The report's title, "Ferry Security Measures Have Been Implemented, but Evaluating Existing Studies Could Further Enhance Security," pretty much tells the story. Like many GAO reports, this one identifies a number of things that have been done to deal with an issue, but concludes that more could be done. In this case, the report addresses the US Coast Guard's conduct of risk assessments (and the risks identified) and the actions taken by federal agencies, ferry and facility operators, and law enforcement entities actions to protect ferries and their facilities. GAO recommended that the Coast Guard evaluate five studies on ferry security completed in 2005 and 2006, reassess vehicle screening requirements, and take further actions to enhance security, as warranted. 
 
Maritime Security a Hot Topic at the Manama Dialogue Maritime security and maritime piracy permeated the 7th Manama Dialogue in Bahrain December 3rd — 5th. The Dialogue is an annual high-level meeting on regional security in the Persian Gulf region, sponsored by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), that draws senior political and military leaders from around the globe. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a Special Opening Dinner Address on "The Role of the US in Regional Security." Under the rubric of Freedom of Navigation, the third of five core principles critical to Gulf security, she devoted several paragraphs to maritime security and Somali piracy, the latter being a problem "outpacing the resources we have committed to solving it." All nations, she said, "should do their part to cooperate in the common defense of the waterways." Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd gave a speech to the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Dialogue on the 4th. "But where the rubber hits the road for all of us is what that [rapidly increasing energy exports from the Gulf to Northeast Asia] means for the security interests of a range of nation-states in maintaining the security of sea lines of communication, coastal lines of communication, as well as the openness of key Straits . . .." At a press conference, he answered a question about dealing with Somali piracy, saying in part: "That's why we in Australia are committed to the maritime security operations here in this part of the world." But a post on the IISS blog by IISS Research Fellow for Naval Forces and Maritime Security, Christian Le Mière, took a more jaundiced view. While acknowledging that "[p]iracy and maritime security have been a constant theme throughout the Manama Dialogue," he observed that "notably lacking is any change in thinking on the topic or any new ideas of how to solve the problem." He also expressed concern that "[t]he focus on piracy also means little attention has been paid to maritime terrorism," notwithstanding the recent US Government confirmation of a terrorist attack in the Strait of Hormuz. The Manama Dialogue 2010 Report has not yet been posted on the IISS website. In the interim, plenary sessions and other speeches are available there.
 
IMO Maritime Safety Committee Meeting Included Maritime Security Issues On December 3rd, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) wrapped up its 88th session (which had started on November 24th). A significant number of maritime transportation security issues were on the Committee's plate, all scheduled for the first day of the session. It's not yet clear exactly what happened as IMO has not yet posted any kind of wrap up to session on its website. Accordingly, I hope to cover some of these issues later. In the meantime, one unofficial report indicated that anti-piracy best management practices, the future IMO Security Manual, guidelines for resolving stowaway cases, and Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) were discussed. The agenda for the meeting and various supporting documents for agenda items can be found in the documents section of the IMO website, provided you register as a "Public User" (for free). NOTE: This post, or any subdivision, may be copied, distributed, and displayed and derivative works may be based on it, provided it is attributed to Maritime Transportation Security News and Views by John C. W. Bennett, http://mpsint.com
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