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Port security in a developing country – pre and post 9/11 terrorist attacks: a case study on Port Klang in Malaysia

Port security in a developing country – pre and post 9/11 terrorist attacks: a case study on Port Klang in Malaysia

Gunasekaran, Periasamy (2012) Port security in a developing country – pre and post 9/11 terrorist attacks: a case study on Port Klang in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in the United States widely known as 9/11 undeniably produced a profound impact on a multitude sectors across the globe. The events became a turning point in the treatment of maritime security establishing a “before” and after” dividing line. One element that emerged in response to that attack was the change of attitude to security. This change, led to changes in behaviour and practices since it prompted a raft of measures, rules, and regulations to prevent such occurrences in the future. This thesis examines how security in the maritime sphere in respect of ports was given a new impetus by virtue of their inherent weaknesses as a potential target. In the past, port security was primarily focused on cargo theft and pilferage as well as denying access to those seeking to enter the country to improve their political or economic condition or to engage in smuggling activities. While the international regulation of shipping had increased substantially through the efforts of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in the second half of the 20th century, ports had remained largely unaffected by this regulation. However, the 9/11 changed this situation.

As the main focus turned towards dual objectives: to secure ports from any kinds of unlawful acts and concurrently fulfil the international security requirements, implementing and complying with a host of security regimes imposed by a range of parties was seen by some commentators as a particular challenge for the developing nations, due to higher costs and the implications for port policy and administration.

This study examines this generalisation using the Port Klang and Malaysian port system as a case study. It analyses security measures and management before and after 9/11, considering the impact not only of international regulations, especially the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, but also of bi-lateral security measures required by the United States as a trading partner and regional organisations. Its findings are based on in-depth interviews conducted with the key Malaysian governmental and private stakeholders, supplemented by other primary and secondary sources. The study concludes that, partly as a result of previous colonial and post-colonial anti-terrorist measures, Malaysia generally had a well managed port security system prior to 9/11. This meant that though some minor internal and external problems were identified, Malaysia managed to handle effectively the post 9/11 port security regimes with minimal cost implications. Any presumption that, as a developing country, it would have problems with implementation proved to be unfounded.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Port Klang, Malaysia, maritime security, international security, international regulations, post 9/11,
Subjects: V Naval Science > V Naval Science (General)
Pre-2014 Departments: Greenwich Maritime Institute
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2017 09:32

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