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Maritime Security: Overview of Issues

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Publication Date: December 2003

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS21079

Topic: Transportation (Maritime industry and transport)


In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, port security has emerged as a significant part of the overall debate on U.S. homeland security. Many security experts believe ports are vulnerable to terrorist attack because of their size, easy accessibility by water and land, and the tremendous amount of cargo they handle. To raise port security standards, Congress passed the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-295) in November 2002. In the 108th Congress, there is growing debate about whether current efforts to improve port security are proceeding at sufficient pace and whether the nation is devoting enough resources for this purpose. This report will be updated periodically.