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Maritime security legislation to be introduced

Maritime security legislation to be introduced

Shipping and port security will be increased to ensure New Zealand’s people and trade and tourism sector are not at risk from terrorist attacks, says Associate Minister of Transport, Harry Duynhoven.

“I will be introducing into the House a Maritime Security Bill early in the new year,“ says Mr Duynhoven. “This Bill will provide high level guidance on the measures required to ensure we are not a terrorist target. The Bill will also ensure that we meet our security obligations as a member of the global community.

“Following the events of September 11, then the attack on the Limburg off the coast of Yemen and the recent Bali and Mombasa bombings, it would be irresponsible to think that New Zealand and its transport system are not at risk. This proposed legislation is a new addition to the arsenal of measures this government is taking to increase the security of New Zealanders here and abroad.”

Steps are being taken on the world stage to ensure a consistent and effective approach to minimising the risk of security breaches. In particular, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is planning to amend the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS) to include “special measures to enhance maritime security”.

As a contracting party to this Convention, New Zealand requires legislation to give effect to these new, mandatory requirements, which come into force in July 2004.

The following SOLAS requirements will be covered by the Bill: Setting security levels for ships and port facilities, and requirements for preventive measures against security incidents; Requiring the provision of certain security-related information; Requiring ship and port facility security assessments and security plans Approving security plans and establishing a system of ship survey, verification, certification and controls to ensure these security measures are implemented.

Government agencies, including the Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Customs Service, are working together on the detail of implementing these requirements.

Separate from the Bill, but also related to improving international security, is the work that government agencies and industry are undertaking to implement the United States directive of 2 December that all manifests of cargo headed for the United States be provided to their Customs Service 24 hours before loading.

“The Maritime Security Bill is an important first step in ensuring our maritime industry is kept safe and I know there will be strong interest from shippers and exporters,” says Mr Duynhoven.

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