Feb 20 2006

What Is Port Operations?

Published by at 3:10 pm under All General Discussions,UAE-DPW

Folks, it is best to research a subject before going off in a panic of ineundo and incorrect information (which leads to wild conclusions).

Port Operations are not security or ownership. It is traffic control, trash and clean up, etc. Security and the law are handled by the Coast Guard as part of Homeland Defense and normal law enforcement (local, state and Federal).

This is Port Operations:

The primary activities of firms in this industry are:

  • Maintenance services, waterfront terminal (except dredging)
  • Waterfront terminal operation (docks, piers and wharves)
  • Canal maintenance services (except dredging)
  • Canal operation
  • Docking facility operations
  • Harbor maintenance services (except dredging)
  • Harbor operations
  • Lighthouse operation
  • Port facility operation
  • Seaway operation
  • Wharf operation
  • The major products and services in this industry are:

  • Operation of waterfront terminal
  • Marine cargo handling
  • Other operations
  • And what the British company has been doing as part of their Port Operations Contract is hiring people, mostly Americans, with the skills to do these jobs. Ports are not run as a nation within a nation like some hyperventilating bloggers seem to be claiming.

    The Coast Guard’s role is for securit,law enforcement to a great degree and it has jurisdiction over the Port Operations Contractor, is described here:

    Section 888(a)(2) of The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296 of November 25, 2002), which established DHS, specifies five homeland security missions for the Coast Guard: (1) ports, waterways, and coastal security, (2) drug interdiction, (3) migrant interdiction, (4) defense readiness, and (5) other law enforcement.1 Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-340) and the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-295 of November 25, 2002), the Coast Guard has responsibility to protect vessels and harbors from subversive
    acts. The Coast Guard issued final rules implementing MTSA on October 22, 2003 (see 68 Fed. Reg. 60448).2 With regard to port security, the Coast Guard is responsible for evaluating, boarding, and inspecting commercial ships approaching U.S. waters, countering terrorist threats in U.S. ports, and helping protect U.S. Navy ships in U.S. ports. A Coast Guard officer in each port area is the Captain of the Port (COTP), who is the lead federal official for security and safety of vessels and waterways in that area.

    More here. The way some respectable bloggers are writing you would think the United Arab Emerites bought the Coast Guard, not stock in a British company. I cannot see the UAE company even considering replacing the work force – the unions would give them hell if they even tried!

    It is like confunsing the people who man the toll booths and do road repair on a highway with the State Troopers. Come on, we bloggers are better than this.


    BTW, I can think of no scenario to sneak something into our ports (bribing folks to look the other, placing people sympathetic to Bin Laden) that cannot be done under the current arrangement – easier. Not one scenario is made easier with the UAE owenership of the parent company and the visibility of this issue. In fact, I would not be surprised that the UAE company looks at the risk of being blamed for any successful attack and possibly backs out of the deal. Which of course, if this happens, confirms everyone was wrong. A sincere UAE company would back out, an Al Qaeda plot would ignore the concerns and focus on their objective.

    That is not to say if the UAE company hangs in there they are part of an Al Qaeda plot. There are a myriad of reasons they may hang in (prodding by our government, a pride to show they are not animals, a need to show people they are not a risk). But a pull out would definitely remove the Al Qaeda possibility.


    More on this specific case here, from an insider:

    Okay, everyone. Take a deep breath.

    Good advise.

    11 responses so far

    11 Responses to “What Is Port Operations?”

    1. MataHarley says:

      ExACTly, AJ.

      It’s the typical media/Congressional misrepresentation of the facts… like “there were no WMDs” and “domestic spying”.

      When they will start singing the truth is anyone’s guess.


    2. rubicon220 says:

      While it’s true port operations don’t reach nation within a nation status, the UAE has the right to customs inspections (in our ports) relating to all containers being shipped to their country under the Container Security Initiative. http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/international_activities/csi/
      Having signed on to the initiative last year, they have not yet availed themselves of that right.
      However, Foreign Trade Zones are as close to a nation within a nation as we are likely to see.


    3. OleJim says:

      If I take any more deep breaths about this one, I will be hyperventilating.
      I am not happy with a lot of cheap/efficient work in the USA today.
      One area that seems too easy a side-step into danger would be in the port operations area. Your post and that link have not convinced me to relax on this issue.
      Frankly, I think John Snow should resign over this. There is the appearance of real cronyism in this. His old company sold their port operations to Dubai Ports World the year after he left CSX. Everyone who looked at this transfer on the secret “committee” of the Treasury Department was happy as a clam. Hmmmmm

    4. Port security sellout?

      Many have raised concerns regarding a Dubai based business purchasing U.S. port operations. The issues being that security may be compromised, as it is hard enough to secure the ports and shipping without having a company from a Muslim country involv…

    5. Seixon says:

      The UAE company that has bought up the British port company runs ports in:

      Australia, China, Hong Kong, Romania, Germany, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and India.

      Who knows how many other ports are being run by companies owned by Dubai Ports…

      The board of Dubai Ports is filled with American-educated Arabs, Americans, Europeans, and Asians.

      As I have been discussing with others, will anything actually change in the way the British company currently running port operations conducts its business? I wouldn’t think so, as change in ownership doesn’t usually amount to any noticable changes.

      I trust the Americans and British working the port operations to continue doing so, even if their company is owned by a company in UAE.

      And as you have pointed out, they are not the ones doing port security anyways.

    6. Larwyn says:

      Dems screaming ” The Arabs are Coming, The Arabs are Coming” this week.

      Last week they were telling about BushHilters “politics of fear”.

      CORRECTION Last week they were telling us about
      “Deadeye Dick”.

      But it is ironic that the PCers are now outright accusing an
      Arab country of being Terrorists while one of their former
      Presidents appears on CNN’s “Day Room” and tell us to pay
      Hamas – a real terrorist group

      Explain this please – my hear hurts.

    7. AJStrata says:

      You nailed it Lawryn.

      It’s self explanatory.

    8. The Lone Elm says:

      Facts on the Port Issue

      Victor Comras at Counterrorism Blog makes the argument of why we should be concerned about the operation of our container ports by a Dubai company and how we got to this spot. In short, the prior port operator, PO Steamship

    9. Bipartisan Opposition Growing Over Arab Company Control Of U.S. Ports

      The administration is now facing what clearly is shaping up as bipartisan opposition to an Arab company controlling some m…

    10. […] My posts on the UAE port debate are here, here and here. In these posts I tried to call for reason. But the mob left the station and burned down the town. […]

    11. The Sum Of All Fears

      Rescind Mr. President. Faith is a misplaced emotion in the long war on terror, and the assurance that U.S. ports will be secure when they are managed by a firm owned by a government in one of the most volatile parts of the world, is worthless.