Terror Threat to Canadian Waterways

OTTAWA — The U.S. government calculates there’s a low risk of terrorism against North American shipping, ports and along shared waterways, in contrast to a Canadian assessment of maritime security vulnerabilities.

“The capabilities of al-Qaida and its sympathizers to conduct small boat water-borne improvised explosive device attacks against the U.S.-Canada MTS (marine transport system) probably remain limited,” says a newly surfaced Department of Homeland Security report.

“When compared to other tactics, maritime attacks by al-Qaida or its affiliates are rare and have only occurred in the Middle East and East Asia. The transferability of this tactic to North America would be problematic given MTS governance and law enforcement that create a less permissive maritime environment.”

The most vulnerable marine sector, it says, is U.S. and Canadian passenger ferries and terminals, which present softer targets than major ports and other significant marine transport elements and are readily accessible to homegrown extremists.

The U.S. assessment presents a distinctly different picture than that of a January report by Defence Research and Development Canada, which said the threat to Canada’s maritime borders has increased. It analyzed the terror risk posed by millions of small boats in high-traffic border regions, such as the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, against targets such as bridges and nuclear power plants.

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Article courtesy of the Ottawa Citizen.

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