Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge this month acknowledged
Coast Guard efforts to evaluate the vulnerability of U.S.
seaports are behind schedule.
talks about port security, but they don't do anything about
it," Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-SC, said earlier this month.
Hollings is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce,
Science and Transportation Committee.
the Maritime Transportation Security Act, the federal government
must conduct vulnerability assessments of every port and
by July 2004 approve a security plan for each port, facility
and vessel. But the fiscal 2004 budget request contains no
money for the added duties because it was drawn up before
the new law was passed, CongressDaily reports.
far, the Coast Guard has completed 13 of the assessments
and expects to do another four this year, Coast Guard Commandant
Adm. Thomas Collins told a House transportation and infrastructure
Coast Guard says those completed are mainly medium-sized
ports and include Honolulu; Guam; Savannah, GA; Baltimore;
Charleston, SC; Boston; Portland, ME; San Diego; Corpus Christi,
TX; Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX; Lake Charles, LA; Portland,
OR; and Detroit.
and port legislation
legislative efforts continue in an effort to boost port security.
bill (S. 746) introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA,
and Jon Kyl, R-AZ, would require high-risk shipping containers
to be inspected in foreign ports before they reach the United
States and establish a profiling plan so U.S. authorities
can focus inspections on high-risk cargo. It would also require
minimum federal security standards at ports, use of high-security
seals on all incoming containers and universal transaction
numbers that can trace the container's movement from origin
Mary Landrieu, D-LA, is sponsoring a bill (S. 193) calling
for a demonstration project to evaluate seaport radiation
port security is a component of larger border and transportation
security bills offered by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-NM (S. 539),
and Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-AZ (H.R. 1096), as well as Minority
Leader Tom Daschle's first responders bill (S. 466).