Archives For Weapons of Mass Destruction

Rapiscan_m60UK freight forwarders have welcomed but are not surprised by the latest US postponement by two years of the implementation of new rules requiring all cargo containers entering the US to be security scanned prior to departure from overseas ports, with national association BIFA reiterating calls for the initiative to be abandoned.

Peter Quantrill, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said it was “hardly surprising” to hear the recent news that the US had delayed the introduction of the new rules “amid questions over whether this is the best way to protect US ports”, calling the move “a healthy dose of common sense”.

Mr Quantrill commented: “As BIFA has said repeatedly, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has consistently underestimated the enormity of the task in hand relative to the costs both to the US government and foreign governments – as well as, importantly, the limited ability of contemporary screening technology to penetrate dense cargo, or large quantities of cargo in shipping containers.”

The deadline for implementation of 100% scanning of all inbound containers has already been delayed from 2012 to 1 July, 2014, and US Secretary for Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who took over the role just six months ago, has now reportedly decided on another 24-month postponement.

BIFA’s comments follow the recent news of a letter from Thomas Carper, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which suggested that the use of systems available to scan containers would have a negative impact on trade capacity and the flow of cargo.

Quantrill adds: “Media reports suggest that the US Government now doubts whether it would be able to implement the mandate of 100% scanning, even in the long term, and it would appear that it now shares BIFA’s long-standing opinion that it is not the best use of taxpayer resources to meet the USA’s port security and homeland security needs.

“We have always said that expanding screening with available technology would slow the flow of commerce and drive up costs to consumers without bringing significant security benefits.”

He continued: “Whilst the latest news of a two-year delay appears to be a healthy dose of common sense at the US Department of Homeland Security, BIFA still believes that the US Government ought to take an even bolder step and repeal the original legislation.

“That would be the most appropriate way to address this flawed provision and allow the Department and the industry to continue to focus on real solutions, including strengthened risk-based management systems to address any security gaps that remain in global supply chains.”  Source: Lloyds Loading List

Advertisements
Artistic impression of the Club K Missile System

Artistic impression of the Club K Missile System

Critical Logistics, an informative blog, reported an interesting if not disturbing article on the development of a new weapon’s system which uses the ubiquity of shipping containers as it is housed in a 40-footer. It is known as the Club-K Container Missile System.

An article by concerned commentator, Lajos F. Szaszdi, (The Heritage Network) raises several valid concerns in his article “The Club-K: A Deadly “Pandora’s Box” of Cruise Missiles”, which are summarised in the following paragraphs.

[…] Fittingly, the marketing name given to the system is “Pandora’s Box.” The container-looking weapon system can be fired from a container ship, a train cart, or a container truck. By appearing externally as a simple container, the Club-K can be positioned covertly, ready to unleash a surprise attack, probably firing simultaneously from more than one container.

[…] Container ships carrying the Club-K system could be used to attack commercial shipping, particularly in choke points like the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca. These container ships would be acting like Germany’s auxiliary cruisers of the First and Second World Wars, which were armed merchant ships used for commerce raiding. Cargo ships armed with the Club-K could be equipped with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to provide airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR).

Even though use by Hezbollah is a possibility, the greatest potential threat could come from China, which reportedly was already interested in acquiring Club missiles for its submarines of the Type 041 Yuan class, the nuclear-powered Type 093 Shang class, and Russian-made Kilo class subs. China could load container ships with land-attack missiles, with E-Bombs for a surprise attack against Taiwan, and armed with nuclear warheads and E-Bombs to strike the port facilities used by the U.S. Navy in Singapore, the U.S. West Coast, the Panama Canal, etc. Chinese missiles could be launched from container trucks sent secretly to Mexico mixed with legitimate containers. India, another customer of the SS-N-27, could use the Club-K system against Pakistan or China as a first or second strike weapon. Iran could be another customer for the Club-K, once U.N. sanctions are lifted.

The Club-K is a highly destabilizing weapon system. Due to the nature of international trade, with millions of containers being shipped worldwide, transported by train and particularly by trucks, it would be very hard to detect, and an attack could happen at any time on any day without warning. The military and intelligence services of the U.S. and its allies must keep a close watch on this Pandora’s Box, to make sure it will never be opened in anger against them.

A promotional video of the system by (oddly named) manufacturer Concern Agat appears below. http://

For more details on the system visit their website – http://www.concern-agat.com/products/defense-products/81-concern-agat/189-club-k