Port toughens security checks

By LEE MCIVORnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au

SECURITY measures for foreign vessels entering Gladstone as their first port of call in Australia have been overhauled and are working well, according to authorities.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) said all foreign vessels which made Gladstone their first Australian port of call now had to comply with stringent security requirements.

DOTARS spokesman Tom Parkes said all ships were now required to report the details of their foreign crew at least 48 hours prior to arriving in Australian waters.

'Crews are checked against an alert list which details persons of interest and those with possible terrorist affiliations,' Mr Parkes said.

'Those crew members seeking entry into Australia are subject to the same pre entry checks as any foreigners seeking entry into Australia.' ' Tom Waddell from Australian Customs said the security checks were managed by Customs officials in Gladstone.

'Obviously in regional ports it is quicker and easier to have our man on the ground managing the checking of documentation,' he said.

Mr Waddell said any ship trying to enter Gladstone Port without the proper documentation would immediately raise alarm among authorities.

'It is not in the interest of the vessel to travel without the proper documentation,' he said.

'The ship would not be allowed to offload its cargo nor disembark any of its crew.'

DOTARS is also introducing a scheme that will require all maritime workers who need unmonitored access to maritime security zones to undergo background police and ASIO checks and citizenship checks.



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