Security Provisions for Dangerous Goods

11th September 2011 attack on U.S. threw up a new revelation and threat that terrorists can cause mass casualties without using weapons of mass destruction. The attack on oil tanker Limburg at Gulf of Aden on 6 October 2002 resulted in 90,000 barrels of oil leaking into sea, vessel catching fire, death of one crew, injuries to 12 crews, 45 million USD loss to vessel, Yemen losing 3.8 million USD in port revenues.

The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies.

International Maritime Organisation states that “The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities, developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States”

In different ways terrorists may try to reach their objective of disrupting public life, attracting media coverage, targeting high value individuals, demand release of prisoners, instil fear, economic loss, etc.

RISK = Threat x Vulnerability.

Driver leaving vehicle carrying dangerous goods on the road, gap in the peripheral fence of a port or CFS, blind sectors of security cameras are some vulnerabilities.

Threat is a probability of an attack on a target which may be stationary, ports, CFS, warehouses, or on the move, road vehicles and rail cars.

Risk is the probability of threat attacking above exampled vulnerabilities.

  • Some chemicals which are used in the commercial industry can also be used by terrorists for plotting attacks with mass causalities.
  • Talking to strangers revealing details of dangerous goods, especially while transporting, will cause vulnerability.
  • Some oxidizers can be turned into explosives by mixing with mineral oil

Unauthorized access must never be allowed to facilities having dangerous goods. Any person seen loitering around the boundary of the facility must be questioned. Unauthorized photography or filming must not be permitted. While moving high consequence dangerous goods, the route used must be assessed for vulnerabilities and possible need of change in route or need of security escort must be considered.

Every goods must have security measures to prevent unauthorized access, misuse and theft. IMDG Code Chapter 1.4 deals with Security Provisions for Dangerous Goods in which Consignors and others engaged in the transport of high consequence dangerous goods are advised to adopt, implement and comply with a separate security plan. High consequence dangerous goods are those which have the potential for misuse in a terrorist event and which may, as a result, produce serious consequences such as mass casualties, mass destruction or, particularly for Class 7, Radioactive Materials, mass socio-economic disruption.

Specific Security Plan for High Consequence Dangerous Goods must have at least below elements:

  1. specific allocation of responsibilities for security to competent and qualified persons with appropriate authority to carry out their responsibilities;
  2. records of dangerous goods or types of dangerous goods transported;
  3. review of current operations and assessment of vulnerabilities, including intermodal transfer, temporary transit storage, handling and distribution, as appropriate;
  4. clear statements of measures, including training, policies (including response to higher threat conditions, new employee/employment verification, etc.), operating practices (e.g. choice/use of routes where known, access to dangerous goods in temporary storage, proximity to vulnerable infrastructure, etc.), equipment and resources that are to be used to reduce security risks;
  5. effective and up-to-date procedures for reporting and dealing with security threats, breaches of security or security-related incidents;
  6. procedures for the evaluation and testing of security plans and procedures for periodic review and update of the plans;
  7. measures to ensure the security of transport information contained in the plan; and
  8. measures to ensure that the distribution of transport information is limited as far as possible.

It is not always terrorists who may attack, a protest rally by political parties may turn violent torching vehicles and buildings which if have dangerous goods will multiply into catastrophic damage and loss of lives.

Insider threat is more difficult to assess and identify as she/he may lie low for right time knowing the vulnerabilities of the organization. Insider can be a sleeping terrorist or a disgruntled employee who may take revenge or an imprudent employee who unknowingly give the details of vulnerabilities to his or her friend who may utilize same to attack. An organization can put in place multi-pronged approach to detect insider threat, this includes assessing cultural, social, political, economic sector and specific local factors and backgrounds. The publications “Insider Risk Evaluation and Audit” and “Ten Tales of Betrayal: The Threat to Corporate Infrastructures by Information Technology Insiders Analysis and Observations published by Defense Personnel Security Research Center are useful guide and reference to evaluate insider threat.

For security provisions of Radioactive Material refer to chapter 1.4 of IMDG Code and IAEA publication “Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material” and the IAEA circular “The Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities” need to be applied.

SAFER shipping can only be guaranteed by SECURE shipping!