IAPH places security under the spotlight

Apr 23, 2003
Author: P&S

The events of 9/11 and the war in Iraq have placed discussion on security of ports high on the agenda for the 23rd International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) World Conference to be hosted by the SA National Ports Authority.

The conference, which will be held from May 24 - 30 at the International Conference Centre in Durban, will have participation from more than 14 countries. This is the first time in the IAPH's 46-year history that this prestigious biennial maritime conference will be held on African soil.

While the general theme of the conference is "Uniting World Economies through Ports and Harbours", several papers will be presented to highlight what is being done to tackle security at international ports.

The need to secure transport modes used in world trade will be discussed in a paper to be delivered by Superintendent Nico du Plessis of the South African Police Service's Border Police and President of the Africa Region for the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police (IAASP).

"The events of September 11, 2001 changed forever the way in which the world will do business in future, not only in the aviation environment but also in the maritime sector where the largest volume of trade is handled.

"The realisation that normal modes of transport can be used as weapons of mass destruction puts a whole new perspective on securing transport that is used in world trade."

He said the New York tragedy prompted the whole world to rethink the measures in place for the safe movement of cargo and people. To address these issues the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted the International Code for the Security of Ships and Port Facilities in December 2002.

He said the United States also adopted a container security initiative whereby customs inspectors were posted in 18 countries with which the US had the most trade. These officials conduct inspections on suspect containers before they leave ports of export to the US to ensure the safety of cargo and ships.

Various acts have been put in place, amended or are in the process of enactment in several countries to ensure the safety of cargo and people as they move through ports in various transport modes.

At the IAPH Conference in Durban, Supt Du Plessis will elaborate on the role of the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police (IAASP) which was established in 1969 and is the only law enforcement organisation that deals specifically with law enforcement and security in airport and harbour environments.

"To ensure security in world trade, without compromising the world economy, it is necessary for police forces and security companies to work together and to share information on identified threats. The IAASP is an excellent body to achieve this," said Supt Du Plessis.

Among other papers on port security, a representative from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will discuss how port safety is being tackled at these ports.

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