25 October 2002 23:41 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--A task force evaluation of US security precautions a year after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks reported Friday that "America remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack on US soil."
An independent task force sponsored by the private policy research group Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), warned in its report made available today that "In all likelihood, the next [terrorist] attack will result in even greater casualties and widespread disruption to American lives and the economy."
While the report covers a wide variety of vulnerable areas - including the lack of real-time intelligence streams for local emergency responders - the task force also identified container shipping, key transportation choke points and the distribution of US refined products as key areas of concern.
The CFR task force warned that "if an explosive device was loaded in a container and set off in a port, it would almost automatically raise concern about the integrity of the 21 000 containers that arrive in US ports daily and the many thousands more that arrive by truck and rail across US land borders."
As a result of those concerns, the task force said, "A three-to-four-week closure of US ports would bring the global container industry to its knees. Megaports such as Rotterdam and Singapore would have to close their gates to prevent containers from piling up on their limited pier space."
"Containers bound for the US would have to be unloaded from outbound ships," the CFR task force argued, "and service contracts would need to be renegotiated. As this system becomes gridlocked, so would much of global commerce."
Similarly, the task force warned that attacks on a few key bridges and tunnels connecting Canada and the US could quickly create parts shortages at US automobile manufacturers and shut down a major US industry. Attacks on key pumping stations could disrupt the flow of refined products from Texas and Louisiana refineries to the Eastern US and Midwest.
Among a wide range of recommendations, the CFR task force urged federal funding for transportation and infrastructure security analyses, increased border security and energy distribution vulnerability assessments "to be completed in no more than six months."
The CFR task force was co-chaired by former US Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman. CFR is headquartered in New York City. The complete CFR task force report on US security in the face of terrorism threats can be found at www.cfr.org.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|