Summary: The US government considers identification and tracking of vessels at the US coastal areas, inland waterways and ports important for protecting the US homeland and economy from maritime terrorism. The US coastal guards use a range of identification and tracking solutions to detect any anomalies in maritime traffic that might suggest terrorist activity, such as transportation of weapons of mass destruction, use of explosive-laden boats as weapons, smuggling of weapons, drugs, people or other contraband. This GAO report reviews the US Coast Guards’ current and future solutions for monitoring the maritime traffic: long-range identification and tracking system (LRIT), long-range automatic identification system (AIS) and various radar and camera systems. The report elaborates strengths and weaknesses of these identification and tracking solutions and proposes a roadmap for further strengthening of the US coastal security. The future advancements should pay particular attention to tracking of small and non-commercial vessels and to reconsider ways to collect and analyze data that is relevant for coastal surveillance. Offering background information about vessel-level tracking and tracing of maritime cargo movements, the report is a relevant source document for those CORE demonstrations that involve shipping of containers from, through and into the US. The report is available for download at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d09337.pdf.
Full review: CORE demonstrations of WP9 and WP14 benefit from the background information this GAO document offers on identification and tracking of vessels because these two demos involve US seaports and shipping at the US territorial waters. Also the CORE’s risk and IT clusters might find the information of this GAO document useful. The information that the identification and tracking provide allow the coastal guards to assess risk-levels of individual vessel movements and decide when it is reasonable to intervene and check anomalies. The vessel tracking and identification involves also a great deal of IT integration because it currently involves many technical components and synthetizes data collected from many different sources.
- Maritime Security: Information Sharing Efforts Are Improving. GAO-06-933T. Washington, D.C.: July 10, 2006.
- Maritime Security: Public Safety Consequences of a Terrorist Attack on a Tanker Carrying Liquefied Natural Gas Need Clarification. GAO-07-316. Washington, D.C.: February 22, 2007.
- Maritime Security: Coast Guard Inspections Identify and Correct Facility Deficiencies, but More Analysis Needed of Program’s Staffing, Practices, and Data. GAO-08-12. Washington, D.C.: February 14, 2008.
Additional keywords: Maritime security, long-range identification and tracking system (LRIT), long-range automatic identification system (AIS), track & trace