Port Security: Threats And Vulnerabilities

Port Security: Threats And Vulnerabilities


The main objective of this thesis is to identify the threats and the vulnerabilities concerning Nigeria port, and finally recommend measure to overcome the identified threats and vul­nerabilities. Various categories of potential threats and vulnerabilities have been studied throughout the literature review. However, because each port presents a unique sets of threats and vulnerabilities, there was a need to look critically into how Nigeria port opera­tions are being conducted in other to identity the potential threats and vulnerabilities per­taining to the said port. This study applied Case Study Approach as a research strategy by using Qualitative research method as a means of exploring and understanding how individual or group ascribe to social or human problem, and also identify new theoretical propositions or managerial actions is needed. The empirical data for this study was collected through primary and secondary sources. With primary source, questionnaire, observation as well as informal discussion were used. Whereas with secondary source, raw data and publish summaries that have been col­lected by organizations and individual, excluding researchers were used.

The results of the study revealed the strength and the vulnerabilities within security system at the port of Nigeria. Apart from the strength and weaknesses, potential threats that con­front the security systems, were also identified through the result. This thesis provides the recommendation needed to tackle the identified vulnerabilities and threats that are likely to disturb the effectiveness and efficient operating of the security systems.

In the future, it is important to identify how human factor impact the successful implementa­tion of port security measures. Further research in this particular area will help reduce the threat that human factor poses to the successful implementation of Port security measures

Table of contents

2.4.10Poorly train security personnel-30

4 Case Company-Nigeria Port-42





List of Abbreviations and Symbols

AIS     Automatic Identification Systems

BNI    Bureau of National Investigations

CCTV    Closed Circuit Television

CSI    Container Security Initiatives

CEPS    Custom Excise and Preventive Services

C-TPAT   Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

EEZ      Exclusive Economic Zone

EUAEO    European Union’s Authorized Economic Operators

GIFF     Nigeria Institute of Freight Forwarders

GMDSS    Global Maritime Safety and Distress Systems

GPHA     Nigeria Ports and Harbours Authority

GRA      Nigeria Revenue Authority

IAPH     International Association of Ports and Harbours

ILO     International Labour Organization

ISO      International Standard Organizations

ISPS     International Ships and Port Facility Security

IMO      International Maritime Organization

IMOC     International Maritime Organization Convention

LOSC     United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea

MTSA     Maritime Transportation Security Act 2002

OECD     Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

PFSP     Port Facility Security Plan

SAFE Port Act 2006   Security and Accountability for Every port Act 2006

SLOC    Sea Lines of Communication

SOLAS   Safety of Life at Sea

SUA     Suppression of Unlawful Act

UNCTAD   United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

VTMIS    Vessel Traffic Management Information System

WCO World Custom Organization



This section of the study presents a brief outline of the research, the problem and objective of the research. It goes further to explain research questions, delimitation and structure of the study.

1.2 Background of Study

Thomas Friedman (2007,8) described in his book entitled, “The world is Flat”, that the inter­connected global economy enabled by advances in Information and Communications Technol­ogy and other factors that he terms “Flatteners”, does not only empowers the software writ­ers and the computer geeks to collaborate on the work in the flat world, but also AL Qaeda and other terrorist networks. The playing field is not being levelled only in ways that draw in, and super empower a whole new group of innovators, but also a whole new group of angry, frustrated, and humiliated men and women”. Organization for Economic Cooperation and De­velopment (OECD, Paris: July 2003) reported, “The world pattern for global prosperity has been predicated on near-frictionless transport and trade.” Seaport is a crucial component of the world economy and global transportation infrastructure, Nevertheless generally there hasn’t been a comprehensive governmental regulation and security oversight. The terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001 that collapsed the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in the United States, has significantly impacted multitude of sectors internationally. The tragic inci­dent has brought radical change in the maritime industry. One of the major elements that arose in the response to that attack was the approach to security. This change led to change in the manner in which security is being conducted and practiced, due to the numbers securi­ty measures, rules as well as regulation to avoid such incident in the future. International Maritime Organization (IMO) and U.S have implemented several measures after the tragic event, for the purpose of heightening the security of maritime business. For instance, Inter­national Ships and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, was ratified by International Maritime Organization in 2002, and called on every member states to apply the code by 2004. The Maritime Transportation Security Act 2002(MTSA) and the Security and Accountability for Eve­ry port Act 2006(SAFE Port 2006) by United State was designed to improve national maritime security though, these two Act have international elements planned to strengthen security of the facilities by which Goods destined to United State are travelled. The main focuses were on the vulnerabilities of the ships and the port facilities, which could be exploited by the ter­rorist and other criminals. Though the current security measures have enhanced some aspects of security at Nigeria port, yet some of the vulnerabilities, which are crucial, still hang out. The current regime has made security at the port very rigorous, for instance strict measures regarding containerised cargo. Port security measures could be infiltrated by terrorist or illic­it traffickers, if appropriates mechanism are not put in place to verify identities, credentials, and the intention of individual, ships or cargo arriving at the port. This thesis shall define re­search problem and the objective, then the issues relating to port security threats and the vulnerabilities, including its economic impacts on the port. Also how port security measures have been applied in Port of Nigeria shall be demonstrated. Though, current security regime have enhance some part of the port security, nevertheless they have failed to tackle the im­portant vulnerabilities which terrorist and other criminals are capable of exploiting. Despite the fact that there is strong physical security at the ports, as well as the strict inspection rules for the containerised cargo, the absence of mechanisms to verify the identities and cre­dentials of every individual who has access to the ports, secure non-containerised cargo, and prevent criminal from accessing and exploiting the port facilities, the whole port security measure can be undermined.

Statement of Problem

All sections within Nigeria and international community have welcomed the breakthrough of offshore oil and gas in the Western part of Nigeria. Nigerians have is expectation that this breakthrough will bring significant economic benefit to Country. Nigeria Port being the main facility for receiving ships and transferring cargoes, the offshore oil and gas exploitation and development, has brought enormous responsibilities and challenges to the port Authorities and the users. The significant issues among, is how authority is going to manage the security, safety and environmental issues that will arise over the next decade. The challenge is that, offshore oil and gas extraction includes a complex net of ships, structures, installations and people, all interacting with each other. These activities raise concern to security, safety and environmental protection considerations at a high level of intensity, at this time that the off­shore production is in full swing. Therefore there is the need to identify the related threats and vulnerability to be able to develop a comprehensive, but resilient security system to deal with the threats and vulnerabilities.

Objectives of the study

The main objective of this thesis is to identify the threats and the vulnerabilities concerning Nigeria port in Nigeria, and finally recommend measure to overcome the identified threats and vulnerabilities.

Research Question

The research has recognized, and seeks to answers the main question of “how to develop re­silient security system for Nigeria Port? This question came to mind after reading various concerns regarding the security of the maritime commerce. In trying to answer the main question, the following question also came to mind: (ii) has there been any security incident linked to Nigeria Port? (ii) If yes, how many time are those incidents linked to Nigeria Port? (ii) How do those incidents happen? (iii) Are there in place, security measures to prevent those incidents? (iv) Are those measures, effective to prevent potential security incidents? These prompted me to develop a questionnaire to search for the information regarding the existing security control measures, including vulnerabilities and threats associated with the security control measured, as well as operational activities within the port.


The theoretical part covers analysis of various literature sources that describe the interna­tional maritime regulations and requirements for shipping industries and ports as well as the weaknesses and the strengths of the regulation. Moreover, it shall describe the threats and the vulnerabilities regarding the shipping industries and the ports, including the competitive and economic impact on the ports. The theoretical framework shall be developed to describe the threat and vulnerabilities relating to the port and the measure to overcome the threat and vulnerabilities base on the literature review. The empirical part-case study will focus on the analysing the threats and vulnerabilities concerning Nigeria port. The case study will be restricted to only Nigeria Port. Other threats that can adversely impact the security system including the port operation shall be considered. For instance, threat from the supply chain.

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