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Maritime security card trial shifted to Brisbane

<p>The port of Brisbane looks set to be the first port to fully implement the Federal Government’s new Maritime Security Identification Cards scheme.</p> <p><em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> understands that while it had been the intention of the Department of Transport and Regional Services to conduct a trial of the issuing body and background checking unit processes in the port of Melbourne, it decided recently to shift the trial to Brisbane.</p> <p>DoTaRS had planned the Melbourne trial during October&#47November 2005.</p> <p>However, problems with the implementation of the software to enable it to be web-based are said to have delayed the Melbourne system.</p> <p>Port of Melbourne Corporation chief executive Stephen Bradford said this has not prevented the port from receiving applications for cards at its Todd Road facility.</p> <p>Mr Bradford said that corporation employees were the first to receive the cards and it was anticipated that the scheme would be expanded to the broader community soon.</p> <p>The card issuing process at Todd Road was quite fast, he said. He had gone to the facility unannounced last week and his application had been processed within four minutes. </p> <p>With resources in Melbourne already stretched to accommodate the huge security measures involved in next month’s Commonwealth Games, a well-placed source said DoTaRS had decided to relieve the pressure on the port and transfer the trial to Brisbane.</p> <p>People who may be affected by the MSIC scheme include port, port facility and port service workers, stevedores, transport operators such as train and truck drivers, seafarers on Australian regulated ships and people who work on and&#47or supply offshore oil and gas facilities</p> <p>The MSIC will be a nationally consistent identification card, which shows that the holder has met the minimum security requirements to remain unmonitored within a maritime security zone. </p> <p>Before a card can be issued, applicants must undergo background checking made through the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.</p> <p>The Maritime Union of Australia this week attacked the Federal Government as hypocritical for making airport, rail and port workers jump through "background checking hoops", yet allow hundreds of foreign workers to sail into Australian ports every day under a flag-of-convenience ship, without submitting to any background checking at all. </p> <p>The union was also critical of Mr Howard’s refusal to establish a single aviation national coordinating body, as established in the US, UK and Canada.</p> <p>This would ensure that aviation security in Australia would not function in an effective and coordinated manner, the union claimed.</p> <br />