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Canada and US jopin forces on waterways security

IN ORDER to enhance security in shared waterways and coastal areas, Canada and the United States have converted a so-called Shiprider pilot project into a permanent agreement between two countries. The chief targets are terrorist suspects and drug smugglers. The scope of implementation includes the Great Lakes/St Lawrence maritime corridor and the Strait of Georgia between British Columbia and Washington State, where container vessels transit on calls to Port Metro Vancouver, Seattle and Tacoma. The accord enables the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the US Coast Guard to share training, resources and personnel, and utilise each other’s patrol boats in the waters of both countries. A US officer will command a vessel in US waters while a Canadian officer will command in Canada’s waters. As a result, jointly-crewed patrol boats can conduct uninterrupted pursuit of smugglers, drug operators or terrorist suspects in all border maritime waters. Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan and US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano signed the Shiprider agreement. “The Shiprider concept involves law enforcement officials from both countries operating together in integrated teams,” said Mr Van Loan. “This agreement sends a strong message to criminals that illegal activity will not be tolerated.” “Borders create seams, and if you are not careful, they create exploitable seams,” said Rear Admiral
Peter Neffenger, commander of the US Coast Guard’s 9th District, who attended the signing ceremony near the Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge. The agreement “allows us to work across the border jointly”. The Shiprider pilot project was launched two years ago as part of the bi-national Security and Prosperity Initiative. Joint operations by integrated marine teams had positive results, with 41 arrests made upon the boarding of 187 vessels.

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