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Environmental Damage and the Destruction of Life - Problems that Add a New Balancing Dimension to International Port Access vs. Efficient Trade under International Law

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Document pages: 23 pages

Abstract: The problem is that while we do not want to see a repeat of a 9 11 type incident occurring in our ports, we do not want to twist the term "security " (a word that can mean different things to different countries) into a meaning that would destroy navigational freedom and international shipping access to ports. In Article 25, the 1982 Convention UNCLOS confirms the right of the coastal State to regulate access to its internal waters, including its ports, by stipulating in relation to innocent passage in the territorial sea that: in the case of ships proceeding to internal waters or a call at a port facility outside internal waters, the coastal state also has the right to take the necessary steps to prevent any breach of the conditions to which admission of those ships to internal waters or such a call is subject. He concludes that: First, the ports of a State which are designated for international trade are, in the absence of express provisions to the contrary made by a port State, presumed to be open to the merchant ships of all States. Globally, each year over 48 million full cargo containers move between major seaports; overall some 200 million full and empty containers are transported between the world s seaports. Hidden in one of those containers was a crude explosive device comprised of nearly ten tons of ammonium nitrate, an explosive charge twice the amount used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1994. MTSA attempts to resolve maritime threats (recognizing that the central threat is presented by container ships departing for the United States taking place during the foreign port phase) by trying to achieve the following: (1) identifying and tracking vessels; (2) accessing the level of security preparation of particular vessels and port facilities; (3) limiting access to secure areas; (4) developing an automatic identification system allowing port officials to identify and position vessels in U.S. waters; and (5) requiring foreign and domestic owners or operators of vessels operating in U.S. waters to prepare and submit a "vessel security plan, " for approval, to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

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