New marine security initiatives announced

by Canadian Shipper

HAMILTON, ON- The Government of Canada has unveiled details of a $300-million, five-year package of initiatives designed to enhance the security of Canada’s marine transportation system and maritime borders.

Tony Valeri, Government Leader in the House of Commons and MP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, made the announcement at the Canada Marine Discovery Centre in Hamilton, Ontario on behalf of Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre, along with Roy Cullen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

"Today’s announcement confirms the importance of securing our Great Lakes and seaway," said Valeri. "These initiatives will also benefit Hamilton’s marine shipping community by ensuring a greater federal security presence and response capacity in the Great Lakes region, and by helping to promote trade and economic growth in the area."

These initiatives, which will be carried out by six federal government departments or agencies, focus on enhancing the security of Canada’s ports, marine facilities, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and our maritime borders.

The announcement outlined programs to enhance security across Canada’s national marine transportation system, including: expanding the Canada Border Services Agency’s operations and response capabilities, furthering Transport Canada’s ability to apply and enforce Marine Transportation Security Regulations established in 2004; and enhancing the coordination of waterside security.

Initiatives focusing on the security of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system were also announced, and include creating a multi-agency Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Marine Security Operations Centre including an RCMP/Department of National Defence interim centre beginning in the summer of 2005; adding four new patrol vessels to be jointly crewed by the RCMP and the Canadian Coast Guard; establishing RCMP Emergency Response Capacity in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway region; installing new communications equipment to improve federal inter-agency, on-water response; improving immigration screening of crews and passengers by the Canada Border Services Agency on vessels travelling within the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway system; enhancing automatic identification system equipment for tracking vessels on the Upper Great Lakes; and strengthening and expanding the RCMP’s existing National Port Enforcement Team program.

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