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U.S.: Strengthen port security, or else (January 18, 2002)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- If a U.S. led screening plan for weapons of mass destruction isn't implemented at Canadian port...

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If a U.S. led screening plan for weapons of mass destruction isn’t implemented at Canadian ports, there could be a crippling shutdown according to the head of U.S. Customs.

The U.S. is acting on concerns that terrorist groups may be planning an attack that would see a nuclear device shipped to an American port and then detonated, killing thousands of people.

The result would shut down ports around the world, according to Robert Bonner.

“Halifax, to use a Canadian example, what happens if that port gets shut down? The economies of those areas are dependent upon containers, ships coming in, being off-loaded and moved. I mean, I think there’s an interest there in not having the system shut down,” says Bonner.

He warns that Canadian ports should implement U.S.-style screening practices, and that may mean U.S. Customs agents will be allowed to help out in that regard at Canadian ports.

Currently, only about two per cent of the 16 million containers entering U.S. ports are inspected.

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