28 Jul 2004

Regional Advisor says port safety upgrades will guard against terrorism and transnational crime

3:25 pm on 28 July 2004

A regional adviser on safety at sea is defending the money spent to make Pacific Island ports satisfy new maritime security code.

Port authorities in the region have laid out more than a million US dollars to comply with the US-inspired International Shipping and Port Security Code.

The maritime adviser to the Pacific Community, Captain Doctor Peter Heathcote says the code's main aim is to secure US ships.

"But it's still important to Pacific Island states because, whilst we think of security in terms of preventing terrorism, enhanced security on ships also has the effect of guarding against arms smuggling, drugs smuggling, people smuggling, and all those sorts of things that are quite prevalent in the Pacific."

Captain Heathcote says each port is required to have a security officer, who has to produce a port security plan.