Oman becomes second Middle East nation to join U.S. port security plan

Published 21 November 2005

The Gulf sheikdom of Oman has joined a U.S. security plan aimed at preventing global sea cargo from being exploited by terrorists. Under the U.S. Customs Container Security Initiative (CSI), the U.S. administration is seeking partnerships with other governments that would allow it to target and screen high-risk sea containers before they leave major foreign ports. From now on, all maritime cargo containers destined for the United States from the Salalah Port and other Omani seaports will be prescreened. Oman is the second Middle Eastern country to join the initiative. Last December the UAE signed the CSI declaration agreement with U.S. Customs to implement CSI at seaports in Dubai.

CSI consists of four core elements: (1) using automated information to identify and target high-risk containers; (2) prescreening those containers identified as high-risk before they arrive at U.S. ports; (3) using detection technology to quickly pre-screen high-risk containers; and (4) using smarter, tamper-proof containers.

Currently there are 41 operational CSI ports in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North and South America. Approximately 75 percent of cargo containers headed to the United States originated in, or are transshipped from CSI ports. The U.S. goal is to have 50 operational CSI ports by the end of 2006, with approximately 90 percent of all transatlantic and transpacific cargo imported into the United States subjected to prescreening.

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