Hoyer: Decision by DP World to Transfer Port Operations Fails to Answer Security Questions

“We Must Not Lose Sight of the Bigger Issue: The Failure to Protect Our Ports,” Says Whip

For Immediate Release:

March 9, 2006

Contact:Liz Packard
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon regarding the announcement by Dubai Ports World (DP World), a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, that it will divest itself of all American interests and transfer the operation of U.S. ports to an American entity:

            “DP World’s decision to divest itself of all American interests and transfer operations of U.S. ports to an American entity raises many questions – the answers to which are not yet known.  The deep concerns about national security cannot be alleviated until the details of this proposal are fully understood.

            “Moreover, we must not lose sight of the bigger issue: the failure to protect our ports.  This Administration and Congressional Republicans – who control our federal government – simply have failed to do what is necessary to address the continuing vulnerabilities at our seaports or to examine and address the reasons why so few of our ports are actually managed and operated by American companies.  Four years after 9/11, we are still only screening 6 percent of containers entering our ports.  And, the 9/11 Commission gave this Administration and Congress a grade of ‘D’ for checked bag and cargo screening, including cargo screening at ports.

            “In fact, time after time, Democrats have fought for additional funding to strengthen port and homeland security.  But Republicans have repeatedly voted against and defeated our efforts.

            “When it comes to port security, the alarm bells have been ringing for four and one-half years.  It is well past time that we come together and immediately address this vulnerability in our homeland security.”

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