Coast Guard Meets Safe Port Act Deadline

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard announced today that it met the April 1 deadline mandated by the SAFE Port Act of 2006 to track all large commercial vessels within U.S. waters.

“Using the full range of classified and unclassified vessel tracking information available to the Coast Guard, we are meeting all vessel tracking requirements of the act,” said Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard. “Beyond the SAFE Port Act, we need to focus our attention on closing other gaps in maritime security, including long-range tracking of vessels outside U.S. waters and coming to grips with potential threats posed by smaller vessels. While we have done a lot since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we need to build a maritime security architecture that does more than just simply react to the last threat or terrorist event.”

The Coast Guard is working with the International Maritime Organization, the recreational boating community, small commercial vessel operators, and others to close existing gaps in maritime security to help keep American citizens safe and secure.

The International Maritime Organization’s long-range identification and tracking system will provide an unclassified system for tracking more than 40,000 ships worldwide by the end of 2008. The U.S. will be able to obtain tacking information for ships navigating within 1,000 nautical miles of the coast under the new system.

As part of its commitment to obtain greater awareness of potential threats in the maritime environment, the Coast Guard will be participating in a Department of Homeland Security-sponsored small vessel security summit in Washington June 19 and 20.

“We are working with our partners to identify solutions to potential issues surrounding the millions of smaller vessels that ply our nation’s waters, many of which are capable of being exploited for transportation of dangerous weapons and people from other countries, or being used as weapons,” said Dana Goward, director of maritime domain awareness.

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