The littlest fish could end up being the biggest catch: The state of ferry security



Derik Latham, BC Ministry of Transport and IAASP, & Angela Latham, IDSS – Institute of Defence and Strategic Study, Singapore


More than ever the cruise ship industry is being put under the security microscope and is being forced to step up their security and to adhere/proscribe to tighter security measures. While many of the changes in cruise ship security are very good, they are still really only looking at the bigger ‘PR picture.’ Right now, the cruise ship industry is being battered and assaulted by a whole variety of complaints against their attitude to security, not the least of which is the ongoing US political hearings into missing passengers at sea.

Worldwide, major ports are also being put under tighter security and more and more are proscribing to the ISPS Code. In this post 9/11 world, port security on all levels and in all areas has been increasing and improving, which is a definite positive trend. However, to date there are still some areas that have either been ignored  completely, or simply just not thought about. One of these areas that I would like to put some focus on is ferries.

Although the big picture is one that I don’t think anyone should let go of, some of the littler pictures can be just as dangerous an environment to operate in and in many  cases, a recipe for even more damage to occur if allowed to continue without change or consideration to the terrorist potential threat. I think in many countries, with the possible US exception, that ferries are being allowed to do this.

An un-thought of target

In maritime security, we all know that the possibility is always there for a terrorist group to want to take control of a ship or any vessel for that matter, and take hostages or cause damage – and it is not something that is new or foreign to us. Once taken over…

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