The House of Representatives today approved the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act that included a provision sponsored by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that promotes increased security of America's ports. Nadler's provision directs the Coast Guard to analyze the number and types of containers and ships that enter the United States each year and the cost incurred to inspect them.
"We must discover where our ports are vulnerable to close the security gap that presently exists," said Nadler. "It has been almost three years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, and we still do not have detailed information about what enters our ports. We know that approximately six million containers enter the United States each year, but we do not know how those containers vary in size, nor do we know what it costs to inspect each type of container. We also know that approximately 6-7,000 ships enter the United States each year, but that figure refers mainly to deep-draft vessels. How many smaller ships enter our ports? A Coast Guard study will find the answers to these questions."
Nadler, who has repeatedly called on the President and Republicans in Congress to increase federal funding for port security, successfully offered an amendment for the study when the bill was considered by the House Transportation Committee last year. The provision was retained in the final bill after a conference between the House and Senate. It is expected the bill will pass the Senate and be signed by the President before the end of the year.
"I am pleased that this port security study provision has been included in the final version of this bill," said Nadler. "We must take steps to ensure that our ports are protected, and this study will help us find where we are vulnerable."
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