Thursday, February 23, 2006

More on this tomfoolery: The UAE government has nothing to do with the Dubai Ports

Just more reasons why this hoopla about the ports is a plain dumb story:

Strife deepens over port security, Alexandra Marks, Christian Science Monitor

Companies like P&O don't provide security at the ports. The US Coast Guard and Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement do. For instance, in New Orleans, P&O is one of eight terminal operators responsible for marketing the port, signing agreements with shipping lines, hiring labor, loading ships, and moving cargo.

But P&O has no responsibility for security. "We have our own police force, harbor patrol, customs officers, and Coast Guard," says Chris Bonura, spokesman for the Port of New Orleans. "That won't change no matter who is operating the terminal."

P&O is not commenting on the political uproar over the deal. But a source within the company worries that the media and politicians are misrepresenting the arrangements. Other who work within the port communities agree. They note that P&O will not be "managing" the ports, as many news organizations have reported. Instead, the company is one of many that leases terminals at the port.

"I've never quite seen a story so distorted so quickly," says Esther de Ipolyi, a public-relations executive who works with the port of Houston. "It's like I go to an apartment building that has 50 apartments, and I rent an apartment. This does not mean I took over the management of the whole building."

What's the real problem with ports?
Security is a top priority at the ports, but there's concern the Bush administration has not provided enough funds to properly pay for it. Earlier this month, the president of the American Association of Port Authorities complained that the $708 million allotted for maritime security over the past four years amounted to only one-fifth of what the port authorities had identified as needed to properly secure the ports.
Here's an interesting discussion on why, aside from questions about the Dubai government, essentially, on why this isn't a big deal.

As concerns the Dubai government and their connection to Osama Bin Lizzle, one of the company's representatives says that the Dubai government doesn't take any part in the running of Dubai Ports. On top of that, the ports in Dubai are considered some of the best ports in the world, so maybe it would be better if they would have a part in the six ports now in focus in the US.

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