What is being done to counter threats of maritime terrorism and how effective are the safeguards? The author presents evidence that Al-Qaeda aims to disrupt the seaborne trading system, the backbone of the modern global economy, and would use a crude nuclear explosive device or a radiological bomb to do so if it could get its hands on either, and position it to go off in a key port-city, shipping strait, or waterway. Improving maritime security is especially important for the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, and for China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and other economies in East Asia that have extensive seaborne trade. It is doubly vital for the world's largest container transshipment hubs cum seaports like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Rotterdam. This book discusses the major threats to seaborne trade and its land links in the global supply chain, their potential impact, the new security measures in place or pending for ships, ports and cargo containers, and recommendations for preventing or handling a catastrophic terrorist attack designed to disrupt world trade.
Michael Richardson was Senior Asia-Pacific Correspondent of the International Herald Tribune until August 2003. Based in Singapore, he was also the newspaper's Asia Editor from 1987 until August 2001. He is a regular contributor on Southeast Asian Security for the South China Morning Post and Yale University's Center for the Study of Globalisation website.