Australian port and maritime security agencies are tracking criminal activity in an effort to identify security weaknesses that terrorists might also exploit.
“Criminals and their activities tend to reveal vulnerabilities in maritime regimes and processes that could be exploited by terrorists,” says Paul Retter, Executive Director of the Federal Government’s Office of Transport Security.
“For that reason, I and other agencies are interested in understanding where those vulnerabilities exist and (in addition to dealing with those criminals) making sure that we tighten up to make it much harder for terrorists to exploit those vulnerabilities.”
Mr Retter, a speaker at the Port and Maritime Security 2008 Conference at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on 2-3 October, says in an interview* that since 11 September 2001 Australian agencies including Customs, Border Protection Command, Immigration, AQIS, the Australian Federal Police and the Office of Transport Security have been working together to secure the coastline, port facilities and offshore facilities.
In addition to the work done by border control agencies, the Office of Transport Security has put in place an extensive preventative security regime in conjunction with industry, including a layered security system.
However, the focus also needs to be on criminal activity that reveals vulnerabilities in the system that can be exploited by terrorists.
“Maritime industry accounts for about 99.9 per cent by tonnage of Australian exports and about 76 per cent of our trade revenue, so it’s important that we invest in the security of what is an important sector for the economy.”
Mr Retter says his presentation at Port and Maritime Security 2008 will focus on domestic maritime security arrangements including the cruise ship sector, passenger screening, whole of port risk assessments and other challenges.