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Maritime terror protections should expand: Report


WASHINGTON--Protecting against maritime terrorism requires more than focusing solely on cargo container shipping, according to a new report by the Santa Monica, Calif.-based RAND Corp.

Instead, anti-terrorism efforts need to take into account ferries and cruise ships as well, Henry Willis, a Pittsburgh-based RAND policy researcher who co-authored "Maritime Terrorism: Risk and Liability," told a Capitol Hill briefing Monday.

According to the report by the nonprofit policy think tank, doing so will mean focusing on improvements for screening passengers, crew and luggage, because cruise ships and ferries have to allow passengers to move freely.

In his remarks, Mr. Willis also said current tort law offers poor guidance on how companies that are terrorist targets can avoid negligence. There's ambiguity regarding whether specific attacks are foreseeable, according to the report.

"The potential net of defendants could be quite large," Mr. Willis told his audience.

Turning to another aspect of maritime terrorism, Mr. Willis downplayed the possibility that modern-day pirates and terrorists are working together.

"There's no empirical evidence" that there is cooperation between the two criminal groups, he said. In fact, their motivations and objectives often conflict, he said.