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Homeland Security

22 July 2003

Coast Guard Regulations to Boost Port, Ship Security

Foreign vessels also affected, agency's head says

New maritime security regulations will underpin the overall U.S. counter-terrorist strategy by strengthening security of U.S. ports and the maritime transportation infrastructure, the U.S. Coast Guard chief says.

Admiral Thomas Collins, U.S. Coast Guard commandant, said the six new regulations require ports, ships and certain shore-side and offshore facilities to implement preventive security measures and plans to deter terrorist threats, and provide a framework for response in the event of an attack.

Earlier, the Coast Guard said that, depending on security needs, these measures may include passenger, vehicle and baggage screening, security patrols, and access control procedures.

Testifying July 22 before a House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, Collins said the regulations also require the installation of automatic identification systems on board of ships engaged in international trade and those transiting through U.S. waterways.

He said the Coast Guard will expand its existing inspection program to examine "closely" foreign ships in the U.S. territorial waters to make sure that they have valid security plans.

The sectors of maritime industry facing a higher risk of terrorist attacks -- including tankers, large passenger ships, and offshore oil and gas platforms -- are the primary focus of the regulations, the admiral said.

Collins said the regulations are implementing the essential security elements of the maritime transportation security bill passed by Congress in 2002 and international security standards established through the International Maritime Organization in the same year.

Integrating the domestic maritime rules with the new international maritime security regime minimizes the potential for a "proliferation of national, unilateral security requirements that could impair global maritime commerce," Collins said.

The admiral said the rules, which went into effect on July 1, 2003, are interim and will be replaced by final rules by October 25, 2003, after the period of public comments. The regulations and details on submitting comments have been published in the Federal Register and can be viewed at http://dms.dot.gov. The docket numbers are as follows:

General USCG-2003-14792
Ports USCG-2003-14733
Vessels USCG-2003-14749
Facilities USCG-2003-14732
Outer continental shelf facilities USCG-2003-14759
AIS USCG-2003-14757
AIS request for comments USCG-2003-14878

Following is the text of Collin's testimony as prepared for delivery:

(begin text)

July 22, 2003

Good Morning Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee. It is my pleasure to return and discuss the Coast Guard's progress in implementing the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA), one of the most significant pieces of legislation to impact the Coast Guard in the last decade.

As promised, the Coast Guard published a suite of regulations on July 1, 2003 to implement the requirements of the MTSA. These regulations form an essential element of our national strategy to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States, to reduce our vulnerability to terrorism, and to minimize the damage and permit quick recovery from any attacks that might occur.

The six separate, but complementary rules will implement the core security elements of the MTSA as well as newly adopted international security standards. And while the foundation of our effort is based on the MTSA, it is critically important to recognize the value of having these rules integrated with the international maritime security regime established through the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Specifically, I speak of the adoption at IMO of maritime security-related amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and an International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. This approach helps minimize the potential for a proliferation of national, unilateral security requirements that could impair global maritime commerce, while at the same time ensuring that meaningful security measures are implemented, not just in the U.S., but also on a global scale. The result of this dedicated, multi-lateral effort is a team of over 100 international partners committed to worldwide maritime security.

The six security rules issued on July 1, 2003, are:

-- General Provision of National Maritime Security
-- Area Maritime Security
-- Vessel Security
-- Facility Security
-- Outer Continental Shelf Facility Security
-- Vessel Carriage Requirements for the Automatic Identification System

The rules were developed in coordination with our partners in DHS [Department of Homeland Security], specifically the Transportation Security Administration, and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and the Maritime Administration. They are the product of a very collaborative effort that began in January of this year when the Coast Guard held seven public meetings with our regulatory partners. These meetings were a critical part of the process and combined with the excellent public input we received to the docket, helped us address the security challenges of an industry with tremendous diversity.

The rules will require certain sectors of the maritime industry to take significant measures to increase the security of vessels, shore-side facilities and offshore facilities under U.S. jurisdiction. The regulations also require the installation of automatic identification systems on board certain vessels engaged in international trade, as well as certain vessels that transit through vessel traffic systems in the United States.

Among other requirements, the regulations compel regulated vessels and facilities to conduct security assessments, to develop detailed security plans to address vulnerabilities revealed by those assessments, and to establish security measures commensurate with the level and degree of risk within the marine transportation system. The regulations contain requirements for the designation and competency of security personnel, including standards for training, drills, and exercises. The regulations further designate Coast Guard Captains of the Port as local Federal Maritime Security Coordinators. In this role they are delegated authority to conduct area security assessments and develop area security plans for their respective areas of responsibility. This "family of plans" approach establishes a layered system of protection that involves all maritime stakeholders, and will be consistent with the National Transportation System Security Plan being developed by the Transportation Security Administration in coordination with the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate. The Coast Guard, as the lead maritime homeland security agency, has also begun developing a national maritime security strategy to be incorporated within the National Transportation Security Plan.

We estimate that the regulations will affect as many as 10,000 vessels, 5,000 facilities, 361 ports, and 40 offshore facilities. The cost to industry of implementation is estimated to be $7 billion dollars over the next 10 years. While we clearly understand that the cost of these security regulations to the maritime industry is not insignificant, a terrorist incident against our marine transportation system would have a serious and long-lasting negative impact on global shipping, international trade, and the world economy. Our ports and waterways also have significant strategic military value. These factors make our marine transportation system a high priority target, and that is what these rules are designed to do. Failure is not an option.

While we work with industry to implement the new regulations, the Coast Guard will also continue to do our part to keep the nation's port secure through port security patrols, identification and screening of high-interest vessels, interdiction of illegal migrants, and maintenance of Maritime Security Zones.

The six security rules were issued as temporary interim rules to allow public input before they become final. The regulations give the public 30 days to comment on the rules. The Coast Guard will hold a public meeting here in Washington, DC, tomorrow, July 23, 2003, to receive comments on the interim rules. These comments will be evaluated and the Coast Guard plans to publish the final rules in October 2003, to take effect 30 days later -- one year after the signing of the MTSA.

But even when these rules are finalized, our work will have just begun since the Coast Guard must work with the maritime industry to ensure that these rules are properly implemented. In addition to reviewing and approving thousands of vessel and facility security plans, the COTPs must verify that the plans have been implemented through compliance inspections. We are putting into place plans and contracts to address this surge in workload.

The Coast Guard will also expand our current comprehensive Port State Control Safety program to address these new security requirements on foreign vessels in our waters. While the international regime adopted at IMO will act as a force multiplier, we plan to closely examine these vessels to verify that they have approved vessel security plans that fully comply with SOLAS and the ISPS Code. To borrow a phrase from former President Ronald Reagan we will TRUST, BUT VERIFY the actions of our international partners in this maritime security effort.

Much has been done since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and much is left to do. The six security regulations published on July 1, 2003, form an essential element of our national strategy to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States, to reduce our vulnerability to terrorism, and to minimize the damage and permit quick recovery from any attacks that might occur. I pledge that the Coast Guard will continue to work aggressively to complete this critical work for our nation.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. I am pleased to answer any questions you may have.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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