The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday announced that the installation of equipment to detect radiation at Kaohsiung Harbor had been completed, bringing Taiwan online as part of global efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Under the auspices of the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), the Second Line of Defense Megaports Initiative provides radiation detection equipment and training at major ports worldwide to strengthen the capability of the international community to detect and interdict trafficking in nuclear material through maritime shipping.
Better known by its shorter name, the Megaports Initiative equips ports with radiation portal monitors for the detection of radiation, handheld devices to identify radioactive isotope, optical character recognition technology to identify containers, communications equipment to send data to a central alarm station, as well as training and technical support.
The Megaports Initiative, which brings in customs, law enforcement, port authorities, terminal operators and other government agencies, is now operational in 34 ports worldwide, with work under way at 18 other ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Megaports Initiative seeks to equip 100 seaports with radiation detection systems by 2016, scanning about 50 percent of global maritime containerized cargo and more than 80 percent of US-bound container traffic.
The AIT and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office signed a memorandum of understanding to implement the Megaports Initiative in Taiwan in 2006. Because of its strategic location, high volume and role as a key transshipment port in the Asian region, the inclusion of Kaohsiung Harbor in the initiative was seen as key to strengthening interdiction in the region.
Work to equip Kaohsiung Harbor began in 2007, with the installation of radiation detection equipment and training of Taiwanese officials. Because of the size of Kaohsiung Harbor, work was divided into two phases, with phase 1 involving the installation of detection equipment at terminals 2, 3 and 5, and phase 2 the completion of terminals 1 and 4, AIT said.
Kaohsiung Customs launched Megaports Initiative operations in November 2009 at all phase 1 sites, with all phase 2 sites coming online in October last year.
According to the NNSA, more than 90 percent of global commerce is transported through the maritime shipping network via cargo containers, with about 500 million twenty-foot-equivalent units — a measure of volume in the transport of containers — transiting the globe annually.
Because of its technological base and strategic location for direct shipment or transshipment, Taiwan has become the focus of rogue states such as Iran and North Korea and non-state organizations seeking to acquire material that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons.
In August 2003, the North Korean cargo vessel Be Gaehung was detained at Kaohsiung Harbor after US intelligence notified Taiwanese authorities that the vessel was suspected of carrying chemicals associated with rocket fuel.
Reports in December 2009 showed that Iran sought to obtain hundreds of pressure transducers, which can be used to enrich uranium to weapons grade, from Heli-Ocean Technology Co, a Taiwanese agent, via a company based in Shanghai.
AIT, the US Department of Energy, the Ministry of Finance and the Directorate General of Customs will celebrate the completion of the project at a ceremony on Friday at the US Commerce and Culture Activity Center in Greater Kaohsiung, AIT said.
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public