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Essay Example: Vulnerability of Shipping and Port Critical Infrastructure

4 pages
876 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
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The securities that are granted to the ports in the United States contain a lot of deficiency hence they become very vulnerable. The Port of Los Angeles which is in the Pacific Ocean brings a lot of benefits to the people of Southern California and also the United States at large. It offers one of the most significant trade gateways for it provides billions of dollars in sales every year especially to the people of Los Angeles. This port has a lot of threats such as small boats, CBRNE attacks, submerged attacks and floating IEDs.

One of the vulnerabilities the Port of Los Angeles is susceptible to is the threat of terrorist attack (Rosoff & Von, 2007). This is out of the insufficient defense that is provided on the actual seaport and the inadequate inspection of cargo that is moving along the seaport. The Port is situated near Los Angeles which is a highly populated center thus increasing the risk of terrorist attacks.

A terrorist attack in the Port may be very probable for it could be a way of grabbing a lot of media attention as well as disrupting the economy of the United States. Undoubtedly, the Port is a primary backbone of the United States economy which heavily depends on importation and exportation of a considerable number of its goods by the use of the port. Also, the port is very highly congested with people who are actively involved in the exportation and importation business. Also, the port is very hard to protect due to its large size for it encompasses about 7500 acres of land with about 43 miles of waterfront.

There can be a very high risk of terrorist attacks due to an inadequate inspection of the cargo that passes through the Los Angeles port. Majority of the load that passes through the port is not adequately inspected. This gives room for the transportation of terrorist weapons that can be used in the terrorist attacks. Also, the application of the customs service has become a very sophisticated risk assessment technology. The technology identifies the cargo that is to be inspected at a particular time. This analysis is at times not sufficient because the technology may not identify the right cargo that needs inspection and as a result facilitate the transportation of terrorist weapons that may be used in the Port.

Also, the port of Los Angeles has a lot of transportation activities that take place. These activities include millions of passengers that use the port every year to move to various destinations. Also, a lot of people use the port to transport their cargo to various destinations hence the numerous amount of people give room for the terrorists to smuggle themselves or their weapons to the country.

Despite there being a high-security measure applied to the port whereby there is more than 130 security personnel that are employed to defend the harbor, the port is still at a very high risk of terrorist attack. Ports play an integral part especially in the economy of every nation. Therefore, the protection that should be offered in the port should be stronger than ever.

The port of Los Angeles is also very prone to threats on the critical infrastructures. Some of the critical infrastructures that the port has include the electrical power systems, banking, and finance, emergency services, water supply systems, telecommunication and oil storage systems. These critical infrastructures are prone to a lot of terrorist attacks in the Los Angeles port for they provide goods and services that are of great importance to the countrys economy and also the national security. Terrorists have an understanding that if they can attack the ports critical infrastructure, they will be able to affect the general economy of the country.

Oil storage system in the Port is very vulnerable to terrorist attack. Undoubtedly, oil is the backbone of every nations economy including the United States; therefore, attacking these storage systems affects the normal running of the economy (Laxe at el, 2012). The kind of security that is offered to this storage system in Port is not sufficient as compared to the benefits that these storage systems bring to the economy. Therefore they are an easy target for the terrorist groups to attack. Also, the complexity of the port and also the oil storage systems offer a wide range of threats that give room for terrorist assault. There is the inefficient analysis of the attacks that can be identified in the Port; therefore, providing a lot of loopholes to which terrorist can undertake their attacks. These oil storages are very large for they occupy a significant amount of space in the port; therefore, securing it from attacks becomes very challenging.

In conclusion, it is evident that the Port is prone to numerous attacks that may affect it negatively. However, more effort and investment can be done to enhance the security of the ports oil storage.



Laxe, F. G., Seoane, M. J. F., & Montes, C. P. (2012). Maritime degree, centrality and vulnerability: port hierarchies and emerging areas in containerized transport (20082010). Journal of Transport Geography, 24, 33-44.

Rosoff, H., & Von Winterfeldt, D. (2007). A risk and economic analysis of dirty bomb attacks on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Risk Analysis, 27(3), 533-546.


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