Since September 11, 2001, there has been a heightened awareness that the security of the United States is at risk. According to Dr. Gerard Mangone, University of Delaware Research Professor of International and Maritime Law, no avenue is more open to acts of terrorism than American seaports.
“The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, for example, admit more than nine million 20-foot equivalent closed containers in one year, followed by New York and New Jersey with more than three million such containers,” says Mangone. “Over 4,000 of these containers can be unloaded from one ship at a time. These closed containers and the ports they arrive in are highly vulnerable to acts of terrorism.”
Port Security for the United States, a new 80-page booklet published by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, sheds light on this sensitive topic. The booklet, compiled and edited by Mangone, is a collection of five papers written by graduate students in the Marine Policy Program at the Graduate College of Marine Studies.
Seong-Yong Choi gives a brief description of the various public and privately owned seaports and their value to the United States in “The Vulnerability of United States Ports.” Choi also addresses the threats that U.S. ports face — such as terrorism, drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and cargo theft. Port authorities can reduce their vulnerability by installing security systems and requiring identification badges for personnel. These and other precautionary measures as well as the inherent difficulties in improving port security are discussed in “Measures for Port Security” by Steven C. Savidge.
Numerous federal, state, and local authorities share jurisdiction in matters regarding port security. These agencies are described in “The Role of Federal Agencies in Port Security” and “The Role of State and Local Agencies in Port Security” by Melissa Theis and Kevin Goldstein, respectively. Theis and Goldstein point out that the concerns of these agencies frequently overlap, making it much more difficult to establish a nationwide initiative to improve security at U.S. ports.
The last paper, “Legislation for Port Security” by Nicole D. Cass, gives a brief history of major maritime legislation such as the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and the Port and Waterways Safety Act of 1972. Cass also discusses bills proposed by Congress since September 11. Although the current status of these bills is uncertain, an explanation of their content provides a glimpse into the many facets of this issue.
Mangone joined the University of Delaware faculty in 1972 as Professor of Marine Studies and Political Science. In 1972, he organized the Marine Policy Program and served as its director until 1986. In 1973, he created the Center for the Study of Marine Policy and served as its director for the next 16 years. Mangone currently focuses his research on issues regarding marine law and transportation.
Port Security for the United States is available for $12.00. To order a copy, please send a check made payable to the University of Delaware to the Marine Public Education Office, 222 South Chapel Street, Room 103, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716–3530. Please be sure to include your name and full address. For more information, call the Marine Public Education Office at (302) 831-8083, or e-mail MarineCom@udel.edu.
Printing of the booklet was supported by the UD Sea Grant College Program, a member of a national network of universities committed to research, education, and technology transfer designed to meet the changing needs of U.S. ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes regions.