Maritime Security Act

Maritime Security Act

The issue of maritime security became urgent at the beginning of the last century. From 1917 different security acts served to prevent the damage through sabotage and terrorism. After the terrorist attacks on 09.10.2001 almost all the countries of the world including the USA revised the existed laws on security measurers. As the results new Maritime Transportation Security Act was adopted in 2002 to minimize the risk of terrorism and unlawful interference within the U.S. maritime domain. However, these prevention measurers had some economical impact. The objective of this essay is to discuss the economic impact of security measurer in maritime transportation.

The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002

The latest Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) was adopted in 2002 and by 2004 was approved in lace in all the states. This act determined the special requirements to certain vessels, especially oil tankers and liquefied natural gas tankers, because of high risk of security incident. All the foreign-flagged tankers must be equipped with the automatic identification system. This system allows monitoring and tracking the vessels when traveling on U.S. waters. Also the oil and gas tankers can be accompanied by sea marshals when transit in and out ports for better harbor security.

New security requirements involve not only gas and oil tankers but some other vessels: cargo and towing vessels, barges, and large passenger ships. Every vessel must have certified security plan with the detailed description of the respond in emergence incident, the name of the responsible person, and the detailed list of technical provisions for personnel and cargo security.

However, the MTSA sets the security requirements not only for vessels but also for port facilities. The port facilities must also have the security plans for a transportation security incidents, the aim of this plan is to minimize the possible damage of these incidents to the "maximum extent practicable."
At last, MTSA demands better coordination between the local and federal security services and it amends the deepwater port act including the offshore natural gas ports to the list of port facilities to simplify the security demands.

OECD: Security in Maritime Transport

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2003 made a report regarding the cost of new maritime security measurers and concluded that the cost of new security measurers is lower than a possible damage from major terror attack. Many vessels and port facilities needed the new equipment but that time the fear of terror attacks was too great. The security measures in cargo shipping were significant for global commerce because more that 80% of global trade was transported by sea and thus world trade was dependent on sea transportation. That is why the maritime transport was considered as the attractive target for terrorists. However at the early stage of new security measurer implementation it became clear that the exact cost was higher than likely cost. Some costs couldn’t be measured easily. That is why the significant part of planned measurer isn’t implemented still. The new security standard nevertheless was in demand among the most participants in the international maritime trading system because of terrorism fear, huge possible losses as the result of terror attacks and general vulnerability of sea transportation.

The balance of maritime risk factors with economic impact

As it known, the resources are always limited and the cost-effectiveness of security measures is still under discussion. Some critics say that it would be more reasonable to invest in the trade development instead of the protection against the possible future threats. The possible consequences of the terror attack in the maritime transportation can be hardly removed o minimized even under new security standards. The advocates of new security standards claim that the humankind doesn’t know the major terrorist attack, which use ships or maritime infrastructure. It is rather hard to estimate the effectiveness of security measurer. Besides, new security standard brings some benefits due the general increase of control level in maritime transportation. The possible benefits of new security standards (for example, reduced delays, faster processing times, better asset control, decreased payroll) could be hardly estimated, too, but the rough calculation of these benefits allowed to compensate the costs of security measurer. The recent incidents with sea pirates in different countries are the additional argument in defense of new security standard.


The maritime transportation system is vet vulnerable for terror attacks. Any serious breakthrough in the sea transportation can have the significant influence on the global economics because the global trade depends on sea transport. The society faces the contradictory question of security measurers’ cost-effectiveness. However, the additional benefits of new security measurers can shorten the total cost of its implementation.


Maritime transportation security act of 2002. Public law 107–295—Nov. 25, 2002. Retrieved from
Security in maritime transport: risk factors and economic impact. Maritime Transport Committee. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. July 2003. Retrieved from
Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). On the web-site of U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from

Maritime Security Act 9 of 10 on the basis of 2015 Review.