July 24, 2010
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.A Brief Legislative History of the Bill3
2.Review of Previous Legislation: The Need for MTSA 4
3. Summary of Pertinent Provisions of the MTSA7
4. Strengths and Weaknesses of MTSA10
5. Final Assessment and Recommendations to Strengthen MTSA15
1.A Brief Legislative History of the Bill
The United States (US), who is a party to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has long been pushing for a response to the issue of maritime security worldwide. Prompted by the US, the IMO agreed to make security amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention 1974 (SOLAS). Parties to the IMO and SOLAS convention finalized these amendments at a diplomatic held at the IMO in December 2002 in London. In the diplomatic conference, it was agreed upon that maritime security measures will be accepted internationally by January 1, 2004, and in force six months later by July 1, 2004 worldwide. As a result of this agreement, the International Ship and Port Facility Code (ISPS) was drafted containing the amendments and complimentary provisions to the SOLAS. The ISPS was included as an Annex to Chapter XI-2 of the SOLAS Convention. The new security code is the first multilateral ship and port security standard ever created. It requires nations to develop port and ship security plans primarily as a safeguard against the threat of terrorist attacks. It also provides for a standard framework in helping governments to evaluate risks in case of threat to ship and port facilities. The ISPS applies to all passenger ships on international voyages, to all other ships over 500 G on international voyages, and all port facilities serving ships on international voyages (Peppinck, 2003; US Department of Homeland Security, 2003).
The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) is considered as the US equivalent of the ISPS. It is the US response to the security amendments required by the SOLAS and its complementary ISPS. The purpose of the Bill is to strengthen and add additional defense to the United States (US) port security. The Bill was designed primarily to protect the US’ ports and waterways from terrorist attacks. MTSA was signed on November 25, 2002. In July 1, 2003, the temporary interim rules for the Act was published, as well as the effective date of regulations. In the same month, a public meeting was held in Washington, D.C., and the deadline for submission of written comments on MTSA was set. On October 22, 2003, the publication of the final rules on MTSA was released, and the final rules took effect 30 days after publication on November 22, 2003. The Act was finally fully implemented on July 1, 2004 (US Department of Homeland Security, 2003; United States Coast Guards, 2006). 2.Review of Previous Legislation: The Need for MTSA
MTSA was enacted pursuant to the ISPS Code, which is considered as the first multilateral ship and port security standard created. Since MTSA complies with the standards and requirements of the ISPS, the ACT is considered as the first specific legislation addressing port and maritime security in the US.
Apart from the MTSA, however, Section 89, Title 14 of the United States Code authorizes the US Coast Guard to board any vessel subject to jurisdiction of the US, or subject to US jurisdiction by operation of any law. The Coast Guards have the right to make inquiries, examinations, searches and seizures on board vessels if in violation of US laws. The Coast Guards are likewise allowed to engage in land, water, and air patrols, as well as to order any vessel to stop if it falls within their jurisdiction. However, what federal law provides is control over the anchorage and movement of vessels in navigable waters of the US. Ship and port security standards were not expressly...