IWS - The Information Warfare Site
News Watch Make a  donation to IWS - The Information Warfare Site Use it for navigation in case java scripts are disabled

24 June 2004

Greece Signs Container Security Agreement with U.S.

Cargo screening at port of Piraeus will start before summer Olympics begin

Greece has become the18th country to sign a Container Security Initiative (CSI) agreement with the United States, giving its permission for U.S. customs officials to be deployed to the port of Piraeus to help screen U.S.-bound cargo shipments that could pose a terrorist threat.

The agreement was signed June 24 in Brussels, Belgium, by James Loy, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Vassilios Manolopoulos, director general of the Greek Directorate General of Customs and Excise.

The United States will loan special inspection devices to Greece so screening can begin in mid-July, before the start of the summer Olympic Games in Athens. The equipment includes large-scale gamma ray and x-ray imaging systems that can scan the interior of a 40-foot cargo container in less than one minute for contraband, including weapons of mass destruction.

The CSI is now operational at 19 of the world's major seaports in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

Following is a Homeland Security Department press release on the agreement with Greece:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(Brussels, Belgium)
June 24, 2004

U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION ANNOUNCES HELLENIC REPUBLIC JOINS CONTAINER SECURITY INITIATIVE

(Brussels, Belgium) June 24, 2004 -- U.S. Deputy Secretary James Loy of the Department of Homeland Security, and Vassilios Manolopoulos, Director General of the Greek Directorate General of Customs and Excise announced today that the Hellenic Republic has joined the Container Security Initiative (CSI). The two signed a declaration of principles in Brussels, Belgium during the World Customs Organization (WCO) conference meetings at the U.S. Mission to the European Union (EU).

"I am deeply grateful for the support of the Hellenic Republic for the implementation of CSI in Piraeus, Greece. This is another important step in the war on terrorism. Because CSI will detect and deter attempts by terrorists to exploit cargo containers, the Container Security Initiative is an insurance policy against terrorism. It protects and secures trade between our two nations as well as the global trading system," said Deputy Secretary Loy.

Today's signing marks the first signing of a declaration of principles since the U.S. and the European Community entered into a historic agreement to expand cooperation in the area of container security on April 22, 2004.

"We support the Container Security Initiative which is designed to safeguard global maritime trade by enhancing cooperation at seaports worldwide to identify and examine high-risk containers and ensure their in-transit integrity" said Vassilios Manolopoulos, Director General of the Greek Directorate General of Customs and Excise. "We recognize the volume of trade between the port of Piraeus and seaports in the United States and Piraeus' role as an intermodal transport hub for cargo originating in many countries. The Container Security Initiative will facilitate this trade among our ports. We look forward to the implementation of this initiative prior to the commencement of the Olympic Games."

As part of the CSI program, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will deploy a team of officers to the port of Piraeus to work with host government personnel to target any cargo container that poses a risk for terrorism destined for the United States. Officials of the Hellenic Republic will screen containers identified as a potential terrorist risk.

"CSI is expanding to Greece before the start of the Olympics," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner. "We are working to establish CSI at the port of Piraeus by mid-July. In order to jump start CSI in Greece, we are loaning Greece Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology so that the security protection of CSI can be in place before the Olympics this summer."

Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology allows the screening of a larger portion of commercial traffic in less time. This enables us to target containers that pose a potential risk for terrorism while facilitating legitimate trade. Customs officers use large-scale gamma ray and x-ray imaging systems to safely and efficiently screen conveyances for contraband, including weapons of mass destruction.

These units can scan the interior of a full-size 40-foot container in under a minute. As part of CSI, inspectors also use radiation detection devices to scan for signs of radioactive materials. If necessary, containers are opened and unloaded by the host government Customs service for a more intensive manual inspection. CSI officers observe this manual inspection.

The Hellenic Republic is the 18th country to enter into a CSI agreement with the United States. CSI, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection initiative, is operational at 19 of the world's major seaports in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the protection of our nation's borders. CBP unified Customs, Immigration, and Agriculture Inspectors and the Border Patrol into one border agency for the United States.

Contact: CBP Public Affairs 202-927-8727

(end text)