Port signs up to nuclear project

OWNERS of Felixstowe port have given their backing to a worldwide project to combat nuclear terrorism.Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) says it wants to do all it can by working with other port operators and government to deter the shipment of nuclear materials and weapons through the global transportation supply chain, especially the maritime shipping network.

OWNERS of Felixstowe port have given their backing to a worldwide project to combat nuclear terrorism.

Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) says it wants to do all it can by working with other port operators and government to deter the shipment of nuclear materials and weapons through the global transportation supply chain, especially the maritime shipping network.

It has signed up to the new Global Initiative, co-chaired by the governments of the United States and Russia.

One of the biggest fears since 9/11 has been a “dirty bomb” being smuggled via shipping into a major port - a device in which radioactive material is packed around a conventional bomb which would cause panic and havoc if exploded.


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All ports - including Felixstowe - have been on alert since the attack on the twin towers and have stepped up their security.

“The Global Initiative is a perfect example of how public-private partnerships can make the world's supply chain more safe from the threat of nuclear terrorism,” said John Meredith, Group Managing Director of HPH.

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“The fact that thirteen countries, including Russia, China, the United Kingdom and the United States, are actively working together in this initiative is a testament to its importance.”

Gary Gilbert, senior vice president of Americas HPH, said: “HPH strongly supports the Global Initiative as it builds on successful public-private programs such as the Secure Freight Initiative and nuclear security measures HPH already has in place in a number of its port facilities around the world.

“An ongoing public-private sector partnership is essential if the Global Initiative is to meet its stated goals and objectives, and HPH is committed to working in close collaboration with all the participants.”

The Global Initiative builds on existing legal frameworks to enable sustained international cooperation to prevent, detect, and respond to the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The participants will meet throughout this year and 2008 to develop and share best practices and implement measures designed to improve the physical protection of nuclear materials, enhance civilian nuclear facility security, improve the detection capabilities of nuclear materials and promote information sharing among all the participants.

FACTFILE: Tackling the terror threat

Felixstowe port now has remote radiological detection devices to be able to scan containers for material plus X-ray machines to see inside boxes.

New high security zones have been put in place around quayside areas make them more secure and allow only authorised staff.

Lorry drivers now checking in and out of the port gates have to have ID and machines recognise their finger and handprints before access is granted.

CCTV has been upgraded and new higher steel fencing is in place around the 700-acre complex.

Police make regular patrols and spot searches of vehicles, and employees have been urged to keep a watch for anything suspicious or unusual.

Special branch officers who gather intelligence on cargoes and movement through the port by working with Interpol, Customs officers and other agencies are based at the terminal.

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