Viewing cable 05MUSCAT1027
Title: CSI TARGETS PORT SALALAH FOR EXPANSION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT10272005-06-29 12:52:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MUSCAT 001027 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/ARPI (TROBERTS), NP/ECC (TGROEN), DS/IP/NEA 
ABU DHABI FOR W. WALLRAPP 
USCBP FOR T. HORTON 
AMMAN FOR J. IRVINE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EWWT PARM PHSA PREL MU
SUBJECT: CSI TARGETS PORT SALALAH FOR EXPANSION 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (U) On June 17, at the request of Omani Minister of 
Commerce and Industry Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, an assessment 
team for the Container Security Initiative (CSI) program 
arrived in Oman to meet with government contacts and 
officials from Salalah Port Services (SPS) to discuss Oman's 
potential participation in the expanding CSI program. 
 
¶2. (SBU) The CBP delegates were warmly received, having gone 
to great lengths to reassure SPS management of the commercial 
benefits of the CSI program and allaying SPS fears that 
scanning high-risk containers at the transshipment hub will 
harm productivity.  To begin moving forward, however, the CBP 
team will need to negotiate the use and modification of 
identified workspace at SPS, while the government will need 
to  commit to procuring new inspection equipment for Port 
Salalah. 
 
¶3. (U) The CSI team visit also helped lay the foundation for 
an upcoming visit by the Department of Energy's Megaports 
assessment team.  Working in close coordination with the CSI 
program, Megaports aims to outfit strategic ports with free 
radiation portal monitoring equipment.  End Summary. 
 
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CSI TEAM ARRIVES AT REQUEST OF OMANI GOVERNMENT 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶4. (U) Following successful discussions in Washington, D.C. 
with Omani Minister of Commerce and Industry Maqbool bin Ali 
Sultan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) followed 
through on its commitment to send a Container Security 
Initiative (CSI) assessment team to Oman.  The team members, 
including officials from CBP, Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Energy, and U.S. Coast 
Guard, arrived in Muscat on June 17 to meet with counterparts 
at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC), 
Royal Oman Police Coast Guard and Customs, and senior 
management at Salalah Port Services (SPS) to discuss Oman's 
potential participation in the expanding CSI program. 
 
¶5. (U) Currently operational in 37 international ports, the 
purpose of the CSI program is to protect the global trading 
system and trade lanes between CSI ports and the United 
States.  Although CSI partners must procure their own 
non-intrusive inspection (NII) equipment, CBP deploys its own 
team of 5 officers to identified CSI ports to work with 
customs counterparts to identify and coordinate exams of 
high-risk containers bound for the United States.  While the 
wait time for screening targeted cargo at U.S. ports may be 
up to 10 days or more, screening at the port of transit or 
origin can be accomplished during a container's "down" time 
and significantly expedites the shipment's processing through 
CBP upon arrival to the United States. 
 
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CSI TARGETS PORT SALALAH 
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¶6. (U) Although the government of Oman has been actively 
pursuing participation in the CSI program and is eager to 
receive a CBP team straightaway, officials at Salalah Port 
Services were less impressed by the promised commercial 
benefits of CSI and assert that scanning high-risk containers 
at the transshipment hub will harm productivity.  Senior SPS 
management also expressed more pressing operational concerns, 
such as who will absorb the additional cargo handling costs 
and how will SPS officials liaise with ROP Customs 
counterparts with whom they currently have little 
interaction. 
 
¶7. (U) In rather contentious meetings with SPS operators, the 
CBP team expounded on the strategic importance of Port 
Salalah, highlighting the fact that since the transshipment 
hub often represents the last port of lading before reaching 
the U.S., it is the first viable opportunity for CPB officers 
to analyze and target shipments bound for the U.S.  Moreover, 
pre-screening targeted shipments has proved successful in 
facilitating faster cargo flow into U.S. ports, attracting 
the interest and support of the international business 
community. 
 
¶8. (SBU) In highlighting the significance of Salalah's 
location and traffic flow, CBP officials reminded SPS 
management that Port Salalah currently ranks 35th in 
containerized cargo flow to the U.S.  Although this 
represents less than 1 percent of all traffic into the U.S., 
it is nonetheless significant.  To demonstrate how CSI would 
impact Salalah's container traffic, CBP officials conducted 
an analysis of the 74,234 containers shipped from Salalah to 
the U.S. in 2004.  Of those 74,234 containers, approximately 
2,000 would have been identified as high-risk through the 
automated targeting system.  While the average scan of 
imports at U.S. ports is approximately 6 percent, this would 
have represented just 3% of Salalah's U.S.-bound cargo. 
 
¶9. (U) A CBP team at Port Salalah would significantly 
increase the flow of Salalah's U.S.-bound cargo through U.S. 
ports.  The team in Salalah would identify high-risk 
containers through an automated targeting system that filters 
information from the bill of lading.  Although there are a 
minimum of 15 data points required for an accurate analysis, 
there are a multitude of rules that are used to immediately 
sort and identify high-risk shipments.  According to CBP 
officials, rules may include anything from first-time 
shippers to low-volume exporters.  If a container is 
identified as a high-risk shipment, through the points-based 
targeting system, it would be referred to Omani Customs for 
scanning.  Should ROP Customs disagree with the team's 
findings and choose not to scan an identified high-risk 
container, the CBP officials may issue a "do not load" 
certificate to the carrier, advising the carrier that the 
container will not be unloaded in the U.S. and, moreover, may 
affect that carrier's ability to call at a U.S. port. 
 
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MEGAPORTS INITIATIVE OFFERS FREE EQUIPMENT 
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¶10. (U) In a related initiative, a representative from the 
Department of Energy's Megaports program accompanied the CSI 
team to official ministry meetings and visits at Port 
Salalah.  The Megaports initiative works in conjunction with 
the CSI program by providing radiation portal monitors at 
selected ports.  Should the Omani government be amenable, an 
assessment team from the Department of Energy would travel to 
view Port Salalah in late September and determine optimal 
locations for radiation scanning equipment.  The equipment is 
free of charge and is managed by host-nation personnel after 
a brief period of training conducted both in the U.S. and 
locally. 
 
¶11. (U)  The monitors are passive measurement equipment that 
would be placed in normal thru-fares within the port.  If 
radiation is detected, an alarm would simultaneously alert 
ROP Customs and the CSI staff.  As part of the agreement, 
however,  all seizures of radiation material must be reported 
to the Embassy; there can be no taxation on associated 
services; and there must be a commitment by the Omani 
government to maintain the equipment beyond the three-year 
warranty and maintenance period. 
 
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NEXT STEPS 
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¶12. (SBU) In a de-brief with Embassy personnel, CBP officials 
outlined the next steps, clarifying that before a team will 
be deployed to Salalah, Oman must first sign a Declaration of 
Principles (DOP) and agree to utilize newly purchased NII 
equipment for Salalah.  In the interim, CBP officials 
confirmed that they can deploy their own equipment in order 
to prevent any delays in implementing the program.  However, 
equipment will only be deployed up to one year and will 
require CBP personnel to oversee the use of the equipment at 
all times.  (Note: According to one official at the MTC, the 
government has already budgeted for new NII equipment and 
will guarantee procurement within the one year timeframe. 
End Note.) 
 
¶13. (SBU) Moving forward, office space will need to be 
negotiated with SPS and then remodeled.  However, the MTC 
confirmed that, according to its concession agreement with 
SPS, it alone is responsible for allocating space and will 
make the necessary arrangements directly with SPS.  The 
Embassy will work in coordination with the ICE Attache in Abu 
Dhabi to secure construction of the office space, assess 
local housing, and work with the Omani government in 
determining the country status of CBP personnel.  (Note: 
Operating under Chief of Mission authority, the personnel 
will seek Administrative and Technical status for purposes of 
immunity.  End Note.) 
 
BALTIMORE