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Maritime Terrorism

Maritime Terrorism: Risk and Liability

Michael D. Greenberg
Peter Chalk
Henry H. Willis
Ivan Khilko
David S. Ortiz
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Maritime Terrorism
    Book Description:

    Policymakers have become increasingly concerned in recent years about the possibility of future maritime terrorist attacks. Though the historical occurrence of such attacks has been limited, recognition that maritime vessels and facilities may be particularly vulnerable to terrorism has galvanized concerns. In addition, some plausible maritime attacks could have very significant consequences, in the form of mass casualties, severe property damage, and attendant disruption of commerce. Understanding the nature of maritime terrorism risk requires an investigation of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences associated with potential attacks, as grounded both by relevant historical data and by intelligence on the capabilities and intentions of known terrorist groups. These risks also provide the context for understanding government institutions that will respond to future attacks, and particularly so with regard to the U.S. civil justice system. In principle, civil liability operates to redistribute the harms associated with legally redressable claims, so that related costs are borne by the parties responsible for having caused them. In connection with maritime terrorism, civil liability creates the prospect that independent commercial defendants will be held responsible for damages caused by terrorist attacks. This book explores risks and U.S. civil liability rules as they may apply in the context of these types of attacks.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4256-9
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. The RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy (CTRMP)
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. CTRMP Advisory Board
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Tables
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Summary
    (pp. xvii-xxiv)
  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  10. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
  11. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the European Communist bloc in the late 1980s, it was widely assumed that the international system was on the threshold of unprecedented peace and stability. Politicians, academics, and diplomats alike began to forecast the establishment of a “new world order” that would be managed by liberal democratic institutions. It was assumed that as this new structure emerged and took root, destabilizing threats to national and international security would decline commensurately.

    However, the initial euphoria evoked by the end of the Cold War has been replaced by growing recognition that global stability has...

  12. CHAPTER TWO The Contemporary Threat of Maritime Terrorism
    (pp. 9-28)

    Intelligence analysts, law enforcement officials, and policymakers have become increasingly concerned in recent years about the possibility of terrorist groups carrying out attacks in the maritime realm. The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) Working Group has offered an expansive definition for the types of events that comprise maritime terrorism:

    . . .the undertaking of terrorist acts and activities (1) within the maritime environment, (2) using or against vessels or fixed platforms at sea or in port, or against any one of their passengers or personnel, (3) against coastal facilities or settlements, including tourist resorts, port areas...

  13. CHAPTER THREE Consequences of Maritime Terrorism
    (pp. 29-38)

    Passenger and commercial shipping in the maritime domain are both large and highly profitable industries in the United States. Their size and importance alone make it worthwhile to estimate the potential consequences of terrorism to these industries.

    Both the U.S. and global economies depend on commercial shipping. U.S. ports handle approximately 20 percent of worldwide maritime trade. The value of national and international products transported through the United States annually is approximately $9.1 trillion, with the international component of that being roughly $2 trillion (almost half of which is container-transported materials). Moreover, the international tonnage of trade transported through the...

  14. CHAPTER FOUR Civil Liability and Maritime Terrorism
    (pp. 39-72)

    One of the defining hallmarks of a terrorist attack is that it inflicts damage and harm on persons and property, usually outside the context of conventional warfare. The victims of terrorist aggression are frequently private citizens and commercial interests, for whom the central problem in the wake of a terrorist attack is recovering from the damages inflicted and, where possible, seeking compensation for those damages from any available resource. In the ordinary course of the U.S. civil justice system, deliberate injuries inflicted by one person or group on another are frequently tortious. Such injuries offer a basis for filing a...

  15. CHAPTER FIVE Risks of Maritime Terrorism Attacks Against Cruise Ships
    (pp. 73-92)

    Every year, millions of people around the world include cruise vacations in their leisure travel plans. As of January 1, 2004, 339 active ocean-going liners were operating around the world with a combined weight of some 10.9 million gross tons. Included in this global fleet were vessels capable of carrying well in excess of 1,000 people—theQueen Mary 2, for instance, carries up to 3,900 passengers and crew members—although most ships are of the lower berth category with an average passenger load of 224 (Ebersold, 2004; Cunard, undated).

    Despite being a global industry, the cruise business is quite...

  16. CHAPTER SIX Risks of Maritime Terrorism Attacks Against Passenger Ferries
    (pp. 93-110)

    Passenger ferries provide a cheap, highly accessible, and ubiquitous mode of transport on which many people have come to rely as a principal means of national and international movement. Journey times can be as long as 24 hours or as short as 10 minutes, with routes embracing everything from major sea sailings to interisland transits and harbor or river crossings.

    Many of the larger vessels currently in operation are able to accommodate a customer base numbering in the thousands. Besides civilians, ferries frequently cater for a wide array of vehicles. Colloquially known asro-ros(roll on, roll off), these craft...

  17. CHAPTER SEVEN Risks of Maritime Terrorism Attacks Against Container Shipping
    (pp. 111-132)

    The intermodal shipping system is a critical component of international trade. The system of ocean routes, road, and rail networks connects almost any two points in the world. Traveling on specialized ocean vessels, truck chassis, and rail cars, container transport is inexpensive, reliable, and ubiquitous. The rise of container transportation over the past half century has enabled production to occur far from the goods’ eventual market, and manufacturing to be partitioned into discrete steps, with work in progress traveling among production centers according to tightly choreographed schedules.

    Today, approximately 112,000 merchant vessels, 6,500 ports and harbor facilities, and 45,000 shipping...

  18. CHAPTER EIGHT Discussion
    (pp. 133-142)

    The aim of this book has been to address several aspects of maritime terrorism: (1) threat and vulnerability, (2) consequences, and (3) liability implications, particularly regarding attacks on passenger and container shipping. Threat, vulnerability, and consequences collectively define the risk profile with regard to different forms of potential attack: in essence, weighting the likelihood of an attack (given the capabilities and intent of known terrorist groups and the characteristics of potential targets) against the projected damage that such an attack might inflict. Some of the basic assumptions underlying these sorts of calculations are very intuitive. For example, other factors being...

  19. APPENDIX Qualitatively Assessing the Relative Risks of Maritime Terrorism
    (pp. 143-152)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-168)