Maritime Security: MSC Touts Global Situational Awareness for the Supply Chain
Maritime Security Council’s Spring 2010 International Congress reaches beyond piracy and provides solutions for ensuring the security, transparency and accountability for cargo moving through the supply chain.
- Domain Awareness for the New Decade
It doesn’t matter where you and your organization might fit into the global maritime supply chain. Everyday business variables dictate when and where to expand, where to pull back and why. A bull economy – perhaps not unlike what some predict for the rebound from the grim reality of the past two years – may prompt one firm to add quality tonnage for pennies on the dollar. Another outfit, still in recovery mode, may decide to tighten their collective belts even further. Both decisions affect the maritime security equation in a big way. And, just as the introduction of new vessels from a different cultural and corporate environment can present unforeseen challenges, the policy of implementing across-the-board budget cuts that water down maritime security arrangements should be considered with equal caution.
Familiarity breeds contempt. Philip J. Murray, Chairman of the Maritime Security Council (MSC), puts it a different way. “With any mature program, complacency might be an issue. Belt tightening in security is never a good idea. That’s because maritime security is never done.”
Murray’s cogent advice reminds me of my time spent in the petroleum loss control arena, where, immediately after reducing a client’s crude oil losses (and related demurrage issues) from more than one percent on a series of cargo liftings to less than 0.25 percent, my firm’s services were discontinued. The reason? The in-house accountants declared that the client “had no losses to mitigate.” Accordingly, that 20 percent maritime security budget cut that seemed like a good idea in December, may also prove to be exceedingly stupid in the wake of a multi-million dollar fine from U.S. authorities when your vessel arrives with stowaways, contraband and/or improperly manifested cargo.
At this month’s Maritime Security Council’s Spring 2010 International Congress, the security of global trade and its impact on the Americas will be examined in depth by a host of heavy hitters, ranging from industry executives to OAS member state officials and the full gamut of regulatory players. Since 1988, MSC has been the leading industry advocacy group, primarily created to mitigate fines and threats of confiscation of assets. During that time, however, it has developed into so much more. Murray adds, “MSC was the first business advocacy group to create a partnership with the U.S. government; U.S. Customs, in particular.” In fact, after 9/11, MSC was asked to help develop The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism ("C-TPAT") program. Today, MSC provides something of a firewall for proprietary information between participating companies and organizations as they attempt to join hands and solve their collective security challenges.
- MSC: Leadership & Focus
Philip J. Murray has been involved in maritime transportation and international trade for nearly 50 years. A founding governor and now Chairman, President and CEO of the Maritime Security Council, Murray previously served as an Executive with Sealand. Starting there in 1961, he served in a variety of roles, including Sales and Operations, witnessing firsthand the development of the modern container trade from its inception. After his employers were hit with a $109 million penalty for contraband cargoes originating in Jamaica, Murray was offered and accepted the position of Director of Security for Sealand. “The problem got our attention,” says Murray. Consequently, Sealand embraced security early – utilizing then hi-tech assets such as remote ROV’s and cameras to protect their people, cargoes and assets. And Murray was right in the middle of all of it.
While leading Sealand’s global effort in the areas of Security, Safety, Cargo Loss Prevention and Hazardous Materials Handling, Murray also became a strong supporter of assisting government efforts in the areas of maritime security, anti-terrorism and drug interdiction. He was a driving force in the establishment of several key industry/government partnerships, including the Super Carrier Initiative Program and C-TPAT.
Murray’s deep roots in the Caribbean and Latin American trades led him to become one of the four founders of the BASC initiative, a Latin American-based initiative that is known worldwide as a model for manufacturing and transportation security. This organization, started in 1995, has now grown to well over 3,000 members throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence, the venue of this month’s MSC Congress at OAS Headquarters in Washington in particularly fitting. Without a doubt, it is a reflection of Murray’s commitment to the region and its importance to the global supply chain. It is also likely that no one else could put together the pool of maritime security talent and knowledge that will be on display in Washington on June 16-17, 2010.
- New Economy – New Security Issues
An impressive lineup of speakers and high-level briefings that perhaps cannot be duplicated anywhere else in such a compact timeframe and intimate setting await attendees of the MSC Spring Congress. For OAS members, the meeting may be particularly important. Murray told MarPro last week that, “We think we can help OAS become a more cohesive unit in terms of security.” That’s good news for the entire region, where – despite the inordinate level of attention that piracy halfway across the globe seems to garner – local security issues on the waterfront remain troubling and solutions sometimes elusive. And, expensive.
A keynote address by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (invited) should kick off the event in high style, followed by a raft of other highly qualified speakers, including Giles Noakes (Director of Security, BIMCO) and U.S. Coast Guard RADM Kevin Cook, the Director of Policy Prevention Policy for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship. Cook will outline the security role of the U.S. Coast Guard in the region. Phil Murray says flatly, “Admiral Cook’s speech will be key.” No doubt Cook’s discussions will focus, at least in part, on the extent to which the U.S. government should be supplementing or providing maritime security for users. LNG terminal operators: stay tuned. The Q&A that follows that particular presentation may be worth the price of admission alone.
A Panel Discussion focusing on “Maritime & Supply Chain Industry Issues and Concerns” will also take place. The “OAS-centric” panel discussion will be moderated by maritime security expert Ron Thomason, with David Sanborn (of DP World fame) also participating. Sanborn, whose ill-fated nomination to be U.S. Maritime Administrator was derailed only by sensational politics, is now Senior Port Consultant with Moffat & Nichol. Arguably, no one is more knowledgeable about the Americas region, port logistics and the challenges that maritime security present to both. Almost exactly four years ago, Sanborn said, “Poor security is just simply bad business, irrespective of the potential threat.” The give-and-take in this session promises to be lively and informative.
Maritime Security goes beyond policy and expertise. More than that, it is about money. For his part, Philip Murray insists, “Port security money, for the most part, is being well spent and security has finally become a core discipline. Consequently the focus on security now extends through the whole supply chain.” Indeed, the combined post-9/11 expenditure by the private sectors and various flag-states in pursuit of maritime/port security extends into the billions of dollars. That’s why GAO’s Steven Caldwell’s talk on the status of Key Maritime Security Programs will be particularly important. The GAO’s Director of Maritime Security Issues is known for his balanced and unusually frank, hard-hitting analysis. If you are going, this one is not to be missed: I have a feeling that the issue of money will come up.
- MSC: a Multi-Modal “Force Multiplier”
In the early 1960’s, Philip Murray discovered that logistics and security are inextricably intertwined. Starting on the ground floor of the containerized cargo revolution – a movement stressing cargo security for different reasons – he helped to expedite Sealand’s maritime domain awareness; well ahead of the curve. As a founder of the Maritime Security Council in 1988, Murray was once again out in front of a growing, but still nascent effort to reduce risk on the waterfront. Nevertheless, potential partners are sometimes reluctant to climb up the proverbial gangway. When some ocean carriers were fearful of proprietary information escaping during the cooperative process, MSC provided:
1. The Incentive to participate;
2. An Avenue to provide secured information; and
3. An Industry “force multiplier.”
In the case of maritime security, explains Murray, the term “force multiplier” refers, in part, to the collaboration which is fostered under the MSC umbrella between multi-modal transportation sectors, port authorities, flag-state and government regulators. He adds, “MSC provides a safe environment where the discussion of a cross-section of ideas can occur.” The June MSC International Congress will bring together the world’s oldest regional organization, the Organization of American States, boasting 35 member states, and the MSC’s combined membership. At the meeting, both will connect the dots, stressing important partnerships that stretch beyond industry.
- MSC 24/7: June & Beyond
The Maritime Security Council (MSC) – established in 1988 – is a non-profit, member-driven organization representing ocean carriers, cruise lines, port facilities and terminals, logistics providers, importers, exporters and related maritime industries throughout the world. Its mission is to advance the security of the United States and the international maritime community by representing maritime interests before government bodies; acting as liaison between industry and government; disseminating timely information; encouraging and assisting in the development of industry-specific technologies; and convening educational and informational conferences for members and government partners.
MSC also hopes to foster a blueprint that shows the way to regulatory compliance. Philip Murray describes that process as “Controlling costs through theory of best practices.” Either way, the effort simply translates into smart business. The June meeting is one of the more visible manifestations of the ongoing MSC effort, but the work of MSC continues on, year-round and on a variety of initiatives. For more than two decades, MSC has been the industry's information clearinghouse for security-related issues. Open to all companies and individuals working within the maritime industry or those involved in maritime security issues, MSC’s annual meetings and daily MSC Alerts keep its members up-to-date on maritime security events, policies and procedures. Many members consider the MSC an extension of their company's maritime security team.
If the security of global trade and its collective economic impact on the Americas is on your plate, then Washington, DC should be on your travel schedule for mid-June. And, because the need to stay on top of evolving security challenges facing the maritime industry will extend beyond that time, perhaps the Maritime Security Council should also stay on your corporate Radar. Your access to solutions for ensuring the security, transparency, and accountability of your cargo moving through the supply chain may ultimately depend on it. – MarPro
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Maritime Security Council on the WEB: www.maritimesecurity.org
Joseph Keefe is the lead commentator of MaritimeProfessional.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. MaritimeProfessional is the largest business networking site devoted to the marine industry. Each day thousands of industry professionals around the world log on to network, connect, and communicate.