New rules will cost U.S. maritime $500M

New rules will cost U.S. maritime $500M

WASHINGTON - It will cost the maritime industry some $120 million in the first year, and $477 million between 2003 and 2012 to develop and administer Area Maritime Security plans under new U.S. Coast Guard regulations that take effect Nov. 21.

The plans are one of the key features of extensive rules for security of ports, vessels and offshore facilities that are required under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. The rules appear in today's Federal Register.

Under the new rules, the Coast Guard will be responsible for assessing ports and vessels for their vulnerability to terrorist attack, both in the U.S. and at selected ports overseas.

The agency also will be responsible for creating a national maritime security policy that is supported by area plans for ports, and security plans for individual facilities and vessels.

The rules also require training of security personnel, and drills and exercises to prove the effectiveness of security plans.

Container terminals will be among facilities paying shares of $627 million to install security equipment and train personnel in the first year of the regulations, part of $1.125 billion in first-year costs for landside security. For the following nine years, the Coast Guard estimates overall costs for facilities not handling hazardous liquid bulk cargos will be $315 million.

The agency also estimates that will cost $218 million in the first year and $1.4 billion over nine years to bring some10,300 ships in international and domestic service into compliance with the law.

The rules are designed to coincide with the International Ship and Port Facility Security code (ISPS) that the International Maritime Organization adopted in December 2002. The code, which is part of the Safety of Life at Sea treaty (SOLAS), will take effect in July 2004.

Highlights of the new rules:

-- The captain of the port will serve as the "federal maritime security coordinator" who will establish a maritime security committee and implement its security plan. The security committee is to include port security officials, federal, state and local officials, and members of the maritime industry.

-- Most large vessels are required to have automatic identification systems.

-- Landside facilities will be responsible for their own security assessments and plans.