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Cablegate: Romania: No Surprises On Isps Pre-Inspection Visit

VZCZCXRO2452
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBM #0816/01 2971359
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231359Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8803
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 1117
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 000816

STATE FOR EUR/CE- ASCHIEBE
ALSO FOR EUR/PGI- NMANRING

THE HAGUE, PLEASE PASS TO RJONES AND WKASTEN, IPSLO ROTTERDAM
DHS PLEASE PASS TO USCG, IPSLO PROGRAM

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT ECON RO
SUBJECT: ROMANIA: NO SURPRISES ON ISPS PRE-INSPECTION VISIT

REF: BUCHAREST 796

Sensitive but Unclassified, Not for Internet Distribution.

1. (SBU) Summary. EconOff visited ports in Constanta and Galati
together with visiting International Port Security Liaison Officers,
LtCmdrs Radiah Jones and William Kasten, who were in Romania for an
orientation visit between October 6th and 10th. Both ports are busy
and profitable, with Constanta already preparing for the future
through additional expansions. Galati is also ready to respond if
the Danube River starts to become a major transportation artery.
The visit revealed no major deficiencies at any of the visited port
facilities with regard to the International Ship and Port Security
(ISPS) code. On a working level, law enforcement cooperation is
taking place among the Black Sea littoral states. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In Constanta, meetings were held with the Romanian Naval
Authority and Constantza Port. Constantza Port is a government
owned, but independently operated, port. With 178 berths, it is the
largest container hub on the Black Sea and had a throughput of 57.8
million tons in 2007. It is also on track to expand further, with
additional berths opening up to the south of the main port. At the
time of the visit, several ships were anchored just off shore
waiting for berths. According to the Harbor Master, current
capacity constraints sometimes necessitate waits of up to 72 hours.
The port itself has facilities to accommodate both passengers and
cargo, and the port operators were pleased to show off their new
state-of-the-art passenger terminal. Other facilities in Constanta
include Midia Port, 25 km to the north and Mangalia located 38 km to
the south. Mangalia services small boats (up to 10,000 DWT) and
pleasure craft, while Midia primarily services the nearby Rompetrol
Petrochemicals facility. Our interlocutors emphasized that an
expanded South Port is necessary to accommodate the future expected
growth of the port, which is already one of the largest in Europe.

3. (SBU) In Galati, the team visited Romportmet, a facility owned
by Arcelor Mittal, which imports and exports materials for the
Arcelor Mittal plant in Galati. Several barges were lined up on the
Danube River, offloading coal and ore, while steel plates and rolled
steel were waiting to be exported. Surprisingly, one barge
contained coal imported from the U.S., as the quality of this coal
is seen as much higher than that available from other countries in
the region, and is crucial for the formation of certain types of
high quality steel. According to the Harbor Master, Galati as well
as the subordinate ports of Braila and Tulcea, are ready to expand,
if necessary, to accommodate increased traffic on the Danube.
Already an active shipment point, there are 122 berths scattered
among the three facilities. The ports also host rail connections,
storage facilities, grain silos, cereal terminals, a container
terminal, a passenger terminal, and an oil terminal. All three
ports receive and inspect international cargo destined for both
Romania and other parts of the EU. If the Danube River becomes an
increasingly important shipment route through Romania (reftel),
Galati will have an expanded role to play in managing cargo passing
between the Danube and the Black Sea.

4. (SBU) The Border Guards play an integral role in both ports,
functioning as the equivalent of both U.S. Border Patrol and the
Coast Guard. They inspect vessels in both ports, in conjunction
with the Customs Service and Veterinary Service. In connection with
the Romanian Navy, the Border Guards have an active surveillance
system in place at both Ports, and they would be the de facto lead
agency in responding to a threat at either port. At this time, the
main concerns are illegal migration and interdicting contraband,
such as illegal cigarettes. At the time of the visit to Constanta,
a naval officer was temporarily posted in the Border Guard's Command
center, where he was training Border Guards on how to access and use
the various military sensors deployed around the port. From the
command center, the Border Guards also have direct access to a
database which allows law enforcement information sharing among the
Black Sea Littoral states. In response to EconOff's question, the
Border Guards indicated that they work closely with Ukraine, Turkey,
Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria on maritime issues, especially those
dealing with law enforcement cooperation. Particularly surprising
was their mention of regular joint operations with Ukraine, which
are taking place despite the ongoing border delimitation dispute
between the two countries.

5. (SBU) Comment. The port operators in both Constanta and Galati
appear professional, and both ports are growing and profitable. On
paper, port security plans are in place and both the Ministry of
Transport and the various port authorities appeared eager to
cooperate with the ISPS program. However, the coordination
mechanisms have never been put to the test, and there are sometimes

BUCHAREST 00000816 002 OF 002


unclear lines of authority as to who would actually coordinate the
response to a major security incident in a Romanian maritime port, a
subject that the next inspection team may wish to explore further.
On a positive note, officials at both ports recognize the importance
of the Black Sea, and that cooperation among the littoral states
makes sense, both as a business, and as a means to ensure regional
security. End Comment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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