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Securing the world's seaports.

IT IS 2:00 AM ON A WET, warm, moonless morning in September in southern Florida. It has rained off and on all evening, keeping people indoors. The sound-masking effect of the rain, coupled with an overcast sky, has created the perfect opportunity for a group of militant environmentalists opposed to offshore drilling to strike.

Their target: the tank farm at a major commercial port. Their approach is from the sea--underwater, by diver-assisted vehicles launched from a fishing boat 1,000 yards offshore. The boat will stop just long enough to drop the team of divers into the water.

Almost all petroleum products that enter the region go through this port and are stored at the tank farm. Millions of gallons of highly volatile fuel and other toxic and dangerous chemicals are on hand. The entire facility is unprotected against terrorists. Those terrorists are now about to strike, and the imminent conflagration will bring southern Florida to a standstill.

Hundreds of fire fighters and police officers will risk their lives battling the catastrophe. Gasoline supplies will dwindle, causing a fuel shortage that will lock the local economy in irons. Damages will soar into the billions. Later, after they have gained the nation's attention, the terrorists will claim responsibility in the name of an organization no one is likely to hear from again.

Although this scenario is fictitious, it is plausible. If such an attack were to happen, the only way to thwart it would be to deny the terrorists access to the target. Access control is the key to seaport security.

BUT WHAT DOES SUCH SECURITY ENTAIL? Seaports exist to service commercial vessels. Vessels at a seaport seek more than to discharge and load passengers and cargo. They need a safe haven; they need to be protected from the maritime security threats that face all vessels today--theft, drug smuggling, sabotage, piracy, hijacking, and stowaways.

By definition, piracy can only occur on the high seas, but a planned act of piracy can be aided by security breaches in port. A seaport's security responsibilities also extend to the cargo that is either discharged from vessels or stored waiting to be loaded aboard vessels.

A seaport must also be concerned about its own security--its buildings, storage areas (including tank farms), equipment, and so on. The seaport's security responsibilities, therefore, are first to the ships that call at the port, second to the cargo, and third to the seaport itself. The secret to successfully meeting all these responsibilities is proper access control.

Cruise ship passenger terminals present serious and sometimes unique security problems, but what applies to cruise ships also applies to cargo vessels. The seaport must devise adequate security procedures that prevent unauthorized people from boarding cruise ships and other vessels and prevent authorized people who intend harm from boarding.

A seaport must implement baggage and package security as well as employee security. To prevent weapons and other dangerous devices from coming aboard, a system must be devised to inspect all baggage, packages, and supplies before they are loaded aboard a ship.

Full-time employees, contract service personnel, vendors, and part-time or seasonal workers whose duties require access to the vessels or terminals should be carefully screened before they are hired, and they should be closely and routinely monitored afterward.

All these tasks can be accomplished through integrated security systems that include physical barriers, security lighting, electronic surveillance and warning devices, and human and animal monitoring response capabilities.

In all cases, the maritime environment must be considered. Fences rust, electronic contacts corrode, mechanical locks freeze, and camera lenses attract condensation.

Consequently, no single system or device should be relied on. Systems chosen should be determined only after carefully considering all operational contingencies and variables.

Electronic security systems are generally more cost-effective than other security systems, such as hundreds of miles of fencing or thousands of guard hours, and their reliability is improving daily. As a result, electronic security systems are becoming the most frequently used form of access control.

In protecting seaports with electronic security systems, zones of detection must be established. These zones should be based on the assets to be protected, the environment, and the, sophistication of potential intruders. In all instances, however, no electronic monitoring or alarm system is effective unless someone responds to it.

FIVE ZONES OF INTRUSION DETECTION should be considered, along with the specific electronic devices for use in each zone. Zone I is the outer-most zone. It should be protected by proper security fencing or other physical barriers. The most appropriate electronic devices are fence disturbance sensors and electronic field sensors.

Zone II is the exterior area between Zone I and the assets or facility being protected. The detectors that are appropriate in this zone are invisible barrier detectors, such as microwave and infrared systems, and buried-line geophone, plezoelectric, or magnetic sensors.

Zone III is the outer barrier of the facility itself, such as a wall or window. The electronic detectors that should be used in this zone are vibration, acoustical, foil or grid wire devices, and proximity sensors.

Zones IV and V are internal zones within the facility itself. In a bank, for instance, the vault door would constitute Zone V, and the space between the bank's access points (doors and windows) and the vault door would constitute Zone VI. Sometimes there may be more than one internal zone between the outer wall of the facility and the final zone, in this case the vault.

For each zone, intrusion detection sensors should be supported by CCTV systems. For door and vehicle gate control, CCTV cameras with wide-angle lenses should be installed on both sides of the access point.

For outer perimeter security, cameras may be mounted on the dock and on fences and buildings. Cameras can even be mounted on freestanding poles or in tandem with security lighting fixtures.

Wherever they are mounted, cameras must be protected from the environment as well as from vandalism and tampering. One solution is to encase cameras in protective, tamper-resistant housings. If tampering is the major concern, a simple solution is to hide the cameras.

Other types of electronic security systems besides intrusion detection and surveillance systems can enhance seaport security. These include X-ray screening, metal detection, and explosives detection systems, and all play an important role in access control.

The airline industry pioneered X-ray and passenger magnetometer screening. The maritime industry is now benefiting from this experience.

An X-ray system can be deployed in several ways. The most likely ways are in the passenger and visitor (longshoremen, vendors, etc.) reception area, in the ship's stores loading area, and on board. Wherever an X-ray screening system is deployed, it should be capable of operating in temperatures of at least 32 [degrees] F and up to 113 [degrees] F and in 100 percent humidity.

Metal detection equipment, known as magnetometers, can be gate-type or hand held. Both types are used in seaport security and capable of operating in the same environmental conditions as X-ray equipment.

Explosive detectors come in many varieties and sizes. Some are portable and well-suited for use aboard ships berthed at a seaport. If a ship receives a bomb threat, the seaport is also at risk. The seaport, therefore, should be able to assist in a bomb search.

Unfortunately, explosive detectors are substance specific; no one detector is able to detect all types of explosives. However, when combined with a crew-assisted or dog search, explosive detectors can be effective.

Training port security personnel on the correct use of electronic equipment is a must. Initial training should be given by the equipment's manufacturer and be followed by refresher courses and random tests given by trained seaport security personnel.

The quality of personnel also helps ensure sound access control. Candidates' applications should be investigated thoroughly.

The following items should be checked when screening applicants: criminal court records, health history, community standing, former employers, personal and neighborhood references, motor vehicle records, military records, and eligibility for rehiring.

Access control by land at a seaport also demands the use of electronically controlled gates placed at checkpoints. Personnel who work in the cargo areas should be required to carry ID cards. This requirement should include longshoremen, office employees, service personnel, and truck drivers who regularly come to the port.

Cards should be valid for a maximum of one year and display the cardholder's picture, name, birth date, company, and signature. A color code system may make identification easier.

ACCESS CONTROL INTO WAREHOUSE areas that store high-value cargo requires especially tight secur-ity measures. Most port tenants build protective cargo cages inside the warehouse.

To protect such property, cages should have electronic locks that record all openings, a logging system that notes what and when cargo went in and out of the cages, a CCTV system with automatic recording 24 hours a day, and an alarm system connected to the door of the cages. Each time a cage is opened, a supervisor should be present.

Most of the cargo moving through US seaports is in sealed containers as a theft-preventive measure. For many years, transporters and port tenants have used padlocks and metal, plastic, cable, and wire seals to protect cargo.

Recently, however, a US company has developed a seal made of acrylic and optic fibers within its jacketed loop. When light travels through this loop, the seal's integrity can be verified using radio monitoring devices.

The seal itself requires a special camera to verify the integrity of a seal. It uses instant photography to document that a seal has arrived without any tampering having taken place. The seal has been tested by many port tenants with favorable results.

A British company has developed an X-ray machine for screening loaded cargo containers. These machines can x-ray any size shipment container for weapons and other cargo restricted by US customs.

In the last few years, some seaports have used a hologram system, which allows an accurate and fast way to account for each cargo container by pinpointing its contents according to the vessel's manifest.

Another key aspect in port security to control the entry or release of cargo at restricted areas is the use of regiscope cameras. Regiscope cameras allow port authorities to photograph the driver of the cargo vehicle along with his or her cargo documents and driver's license. Photographs go into a microfilm case and can be easily retrieved later for law enforcement agencies.

Computers also play an important role in cargo tracing. Many port authorities' computers are connected to the main computers at the US Customs Service. This network enables law enforcement officials to detect suspicious cargo and recover stolen goods.

To prevent unauthorized access by water, water patrols are often used. In many seaports, this operation is done on a 24-hour basis. Patrol boats are equipped with the latest detection equipment, including full communications systems and night-vision binoculars.

For several years, underwater inspections of cruise vessels have been conducted by scuba divers specialized in recognizing high explosives and limpet mines.

Several US companies have developed underwater detection systems to detect an intruder or device trying to penetrate the port's security barriers.

Some cruise line operators have also been using an innovative system at ports of call that lack security. The system consists of an X-ray machine enclosed in an air-conditioned, custom-made 20-foot container. The equipment is brought to the pier with a crane and positioned by the main gangway. Passengers and crew who return to the vessel with packages must go through this inspection device.

Another system, which will be in full service in seven years, will phase out the Morse code distress signal used by ships worldwide. Instead, vessels will use a satellite-linked global maritime distress and safety system.

A distress signal will be beamed to a satellite by pressing a button as opposed to today's method of having a radio operator tap out messages. The distress signal will travel via satellite to a coast guard computer, which will display the distressed ship's name and position and the time of the incident.

Some of the system's technology is already being used by British vessels. According to the International Maritime Organization, several vessels have already voluntarily implemented the system. By 1999 full compliance will be mandatory.

One final aspect in dealing with access control at seaports involves control from the air. Currently, many major seaports are equipping their security forces with helicopters that are linked through communications systems to port security forces.

Through intelligence networking and the latest high-technology equipment, seaports are becoming more secure not only against thieves and other criminal elements but also against the threat of terrorism.

This article written by the members of the ASIS Subcommittee on Seaports and Harbors--Herman Gomez, committee chairman; Kenneth Hawkes; John Ballestero, Jr.; George Wilson; Bernard Oxman; Jack Griesbaum; Tom Springer; Gary Grant; Robert Coy; Samuel Menefee; Nicholas Walsh; Kevin Kenworth, CPP; and James Neal.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Transportation: Screening
Author:Gomez, Herman; Hawkes, Kenneth; Ballestero, John, Jr.; Wilson, George; Oxman, Bernard; Griesbaum, Ja
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:Making security a port of call.
Next Article:Senate questions administration's drug war strategy.

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