Chapter 5Port Security

Port security is a separate chapter because the subject material covers physical security plus the requirement to protect large, mobile, high-value targets, plus fixed-port facilities. Ports often have the added disadvantage of trying to eliminate threats while discriminating between a potential attacker and legitimate commercial vessels or civilian watercraft. Swimmers and submersibles can also pose threats to the port and the ships therein. Port security is different because the high-value targets are not continuously at the dock, but substantial damage to the loading and unloading facilities can impair the function of the operations that the dock supports. The level of security needs to increase with the arrival of ships and the likelihood of an attack, but a certain minimum standard of security needs to be maintained at all times.

Ranking Threats

The organization Maritime Security Outlook1 has suggested that the principal risks associated with a port include the following threats:

ThreatRank of threat 1–5, 5 being the most likely

Natural threats

  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Flooding
  • Tsunami
  • Earthquake

Man-made/accidental threats

  • Hazardous material (HAZMAT) spill
  • Fire
  • Extended power outage
  • Transportation network loss
  • Operator error
  • Loss of data center/networks/IT infrastructure

Intentional acts—delivery vectors

  • Container
  • Boat
  • Cars/trucks
  • Swimmer
  • Military grade submarines
  • Small, radar-dodging, self-propelled semi-submersibles (SPSSs)
  • Disgruntled individual authorized to be on the property ...

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