Security at East London port improved

Jan 7, 2004
Author: P&S

Efforts to boost security at the port of East London were advanced another stage in December with the installation of closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) throughout the port.

The cameras are focused on four sections with the biggest one being the car terminal because of the high value of its cargo.

A total of 109 cameras have been installed at a cost of over R15 million, which the security manager at the port, Graham Wilkins says is a big boost to National Ports Authority (NPA) security personnel and their counterparts, the Water Wing of the South African Police Services (SAPS).

“The Water Wing Police are not entirely new but what has happened is that we have forged stronger alliances with the NPA in combating crimes such as arms smuggling, contraband and counterfeit goods, as well as customs fraud since 9/11. There is a renewed vigour in ensuring that our ports are secure and comply with international safety standards,” says superintendent Nico du Plessis of the Seaborders Unit of the SAPS.

“A total of 109 cameras may seem a lot for East London but when one sits behind the controls then one can see the justification for them,” said Wilkins. He said the system is designed from the best equipment available in the international market.

The installation of the CCTV cameras forms the second last phase of the security upgrade at the port, which includes fencing off the port in its entirety.

In addition to its efforts with affected stakeholders on the local front, the NPA has entered into a bilateral agreement with its trade partner, the US, at the port of Durban – the Container Security Initiative (CSI). This development has been the result of the signing of the declaration of principles on 27 June 2003 by South African revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Pravin Gordhan, and the deputy commissioner of the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), Douglas Browning. A number of US customs officials are now working alongside their counterparts in Durban.

NPA’s general manager for landlord services Mlamuli Buthelezi said the NPA was well on its way with the installation of Automatic Identification System (AIS).

“This will be used for remote ship identification to know the owners, the registration as well as the cargo on board. All in all, our infrastructure upgrade initiatives are well on track for a better and more secure port system.”

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