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29 March 2005

Dubai Joins Global Shipping-Container Security Network

Measures aimed at protecting marine trade from terrorism

The port of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has become the first Middle East seaport to join the Container Security Initiative (CSI), according to a press release by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency March 26.

The initiative is aimed at protecting global trade lanes from being exploited by terrorists.

Under the program, a team from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will work with Dubai port officials to identify high-risk cargo containers destined for the United States and prescreen them before loading them onto ships.

“The CSI security blanket continues to expand and strengthen as it encompasses the port of Dubai,” CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner was quoted as saying upon the initiation of the cargo-protection program March 26.

There are currently 35 CSI ports in 18 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  The World Customs Organization, the European Union and the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialized nations have all called for further implementation of CSI security measures in ports around the world.

Following is a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Port of Dubai to Implement the Container Security Initiative and Begin Targeting and Pre-Screening Cargo Destined For U.S.

Washington, D.C. — The 35th Container Security Initiative (CSI) port becomes operational today at the port of Dubai as announced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner and Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, United Arab Emirates (UAE). CSI is the only multinational program in place in the world today that is protecting global trade lanes from being exploited and disrupted by international terrorists.

The United Arab Emirates became the first Middle Eastern country to join CSI when the declaration of principles was signed in Dubai on December 12, 2004. A CBP deployment team will work closely with the UAE government personnel to target high-risk cargo containers destined for the United States. Dubai Customs Administration officials are responsible for screening any container identified jointly with CBP officers as a potential terrorist risk.

“I applaud the government of Dubai for assuming a leadership role in this region of the world. Dubai has acknowledged the absolute importance of securing cargo against terrorists. The Port of Dubai, which includes the much larger seaport of Jebel Ali, are modern and extremely efficient ports and I am confident that the CBP officers stationed there will benefit greatly from this remarkable opportunity,” said Commissioner Bonner. “The core elements of CSI allow for the mutual risk assessment of every oceangoing container headed for the U.S. before it is loaded on a vessel in a foreign port and before that vessel is bound for U.S. seaports. The CSI security blanket continues to expand and strengthen as it encompasses the port of Dubai.”

“I congratulate the government of Dubai in partnering with the United States and being in the forefront of protecting the global trading system,” said U.S. Ambassador to the UAE, Michele Sison.

The primary purpose of CSI is to help protect the global trading system and the trade lanes between CSI ports and the United States. By collaborating with foreign customs administrations, CBP is working towards a safer, more secure world trading system. Under CSI, CBP has entered into bi-lateral partnerships with other governments to identify high-risk cargo containers and to pre-screen them before they are loaded on vessels destined for the United States. Today, 21 administrations have committed to joining CSI and are at various stages of implementation.

On average, every day about 25,000 seagoing containers are offloaded at America’s seaports. Commissioner Bonner, confirmed by Congress shortly after 9/11, made maritime cargo security one of his top priorities. The Container Security Initiative was launched in January 2002. CSI has been accepted globally as a bold and revolutionary initiative to secure maritime cargo shipments against the terrorist threat.

The 35 operational ports in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North America include: Halifax, Montreal, and Vancouver, Canada; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Le Havre and Marseille, France; Bremerhaven and Hamburg, Germany; Antwerp and Zeebrugge, Belgium; Singapore; Yokohama, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe, Japan; Hong Kong; Göteborg, Sweden; Felixstowe, Liverpool, Southampton, Thamesport, and Tilbury, United Kingdom; Genoa, La Spezia, Naples, Gioia Tauro and Livorno, Italy; Busan, Korea; Durban, South Africa; Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia; Piraeus, Greece; Algeciras, Spain; Laem Chabang, Thailand; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

CSI will continue to expand to strategic locations around the world. The World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union (EU), and the G8 support CSI expansion and have adopted resolutions implementing CSI security measures introduced at ports throughout the world.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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