Protecting ports at their perimeters



Steve Buckley, Chairman, Fencing Contractors Association, Monmouthshire, UK


A new framework for international maritime security

It wasn’t that long ago when you could freely walk along the wharves of many ports around the world, many of which were only sporadically equipped with safety and security systems. As a direct result of the World Trade Centre terrorist attack in 2001 however, the world of ports has significantly changed. With the ever increasing volume of global trade, clearly the international trading environment is more risky than it has ever been in the past to terrorist and unlawful activity. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by establishing a new framework for international maritime security. This included amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) in December 2002 and the development of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code.

Globally, counter measures to secure trade channels from acts of terrorism and protect their borders are being implemented. In America the US Customs Service established the ‘Customs Trade Partnerships Against Terrorism’ (C-TPAT) which has changed the demands placed upon exporters to the United States. The cost of doing nothing to comply to these regulations will result in expensive delays, loss of contracts, increased border intervention and potential damage to country and company reputations.

Strengthening perimeter security

In New Zealand, Will Harvey, General Manager Port Services at Ports of Auckland comments, “Gaining compliance (with new maritime security regulations) was a huge operation for Ports of Auckland. We spent in excess of NZ$1 million strengthening border security management. We appointed a new Port Facility Security Officer, put in place new port access systems, new photo identity cards, upgraded four kilometres of perimeter fencing and significantly improved our electronic surveillance systems.” As crucial border control points, the security implemented at ports is not only important at a business level but at national and international levels too. Put into this context, the need to create a secure boundary around ports is obvious.

As Chairman of the Fencing Contractors Association (FCA), ( British Security Industry Association (BSIA) member company representative, and head of Gallagher Security Management Systems (UK) I believe perimeter security should be an integral component of a port’s total site security strategy. Ideally perimeter security provides the outer layer of an integrated security approach with layers of protection incorporating imaging systems, access control, intruder detection and alarm systems. The principles behind perimeter security are relatively straightforward; prevention through deterrence plus early detection should an intruder attempt to breach the perimeter. There are multiple technologies and systems available for perimeter protection and not all meet these requirements. It is important therefore for ports to assess their needs first to identify the type of technology (or technologies) that best meets the requirements.


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