Study: LNG imports will increase security workload
A federal study released this week warns agencies responsible for port security need to plan for a growing security workload related to tankers, particularly liquefied natural gas shipments, which are expected to grow dramatically in coming years.
“Much is occurring, internationally and domestically, to protect tankers and facilities, but significant challenges remain,” said the new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The report notes, “The supply chain faces three main types of threats — suicide attacks such as explosive-laden boats, ‘standoff’ attacks with weapons launched from a distance, and armed assaults. Highly combustible commodities such as liquefied gases have the potential to catch fire or, in a more unlikely scenario, explode, posing a threat to public safety. Attacks could also have environmental consequences, and attacks that disrupt the supply chain could have a severe economic impact.
“Plans for responding to a spill and to a terrorist threat are generally separate from each other, and ports have rarely exercised these plans simultaneously to see if they work effectively together,” the report said.
It also said that “ports generally lack plans for dealing with economic issues, such as prioritizing the movement of vessels after a port reopens.”
Agencies should “help ensure that ports plan for dealing with economic consequences of an attack and should integrate terrorism and spill response plans at the national and local level, They also should develop performance measures for emergency response.
The full study, Federal Efforts Needed to Address Challenges in Preventing and Responding to Terrorist Attacks on Energy Commodity Tankers, can be found here: www.gao.gov/new.items/d08141.pdf.