The security of maritime field plays a significant role in the economy. Every day, thousands of cargo containers from around the world in field of exchange benefit pass through the nation’s seaports carrying items, goods and, possibly some that are not so welcome, such as drugs, explosives and weapons. The industry of the container shipping industry is highly vulnerable to terrorist attacks. In the U.S. maritime system, there are over 300 sea ports and river ports with more than 3,700 passenger and cargo terminals.
Major Concerns and Threats:
There are significant and various forms of threats to the container shipping network; however, the utilization of Weapons of Mass Destruction-WMD, by terrorists poses serious threats. For example, weapons may be hidden in containers, ships may be used as tools to bring destruction in infrastructure, or terrorists may cross the borders in an illegal manner in order to attack the homeland (The White House, 2005).
Therefore, threat of using Weapons of Mass Destruction through the maritime sector, which containers contribute to a full extent, can be catastrophic. Also shipping containers security brings concerns related to the use of WMD, which originate from their potential in causing a devastating impact on the population, economy, and the infrastructure. However, it requires a joint effort and common understanding to defeat the threats related to maritime security .
The inspection is not that simple or easy, especially with the large number of containers pass through the nation’s seaport everyday. Dr. Stephen Flynn, a professor at Northeastern University and former president of the Center for National Policy, is of the opinion that smuggling has become very common through shipping containers. It is now happening on a daily basis which can actually encourage terrorists to plan criminal activities easily. The system is making it easy for terrorists to transfer items in an illegal manner whether it is transfer of money, drugs or weapons (Gilbert, Holly, 2013).
In order of prevent or mitigate the threats, the United States has put effort and reached the international maritime community to worked with foreign governments abroad in order to meet this objective. A report by the Stanford Study Group (2002) clearly tells us that we need to view this matter broadly. It involves efforts that go beyond container security in order to prevent importing material for nuclear terrorism. This matter should be viewed with a perspective of overall security architecture. Prevention of terrorism should be the ultimate goal (Stanford Study Group, 2002).
Gilbert, Holly (2013, May 29). Risk of Nuclear Materials Being Smuggled Through Ports. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://www.securitymanagement.com/news/risk- nuclear-materials-being-smuggled-through-ports-should-be-taken-seriously-say-experts-00125
Stanford Study Group . (2002). Detecting Nuclear Material in International Container Shipping: Criteria for Secure Systems . Stanford: Stanford University .
The White House. (2005). The National Strategy for Maritime Security. Washington. D.C.