CHARLESTON, S.C. – Port security (search) has become a new focus in the War on Terror, with the Coast Guard expanding on its high-tech approaches to surveillance and inspection.
The Coast Guard (search) already escorts ships in and out of port, and now in Miami it is testing a network of cameras to inspect vessels as they enter U.S. waters. If it works, the program will expand to ports throughout the United States, and other changes will be implemented when new security regulations go into effect on July 1.
Each ship and each port will have to develop a plan on how to deal with vulnerabilities. In addition to x-rays (search) and metal detectors (search), which are already in use, some cruise lines plan to embed electronic photos of their passengers in boarding passes.
"Our passenger manifests (search), as well as our crew manifests, are shared all the time with federal authorities. So, they can then take our passenger list, go through it, run it through their databases to make sure that we don't have any bad guys on board," said Captain Bill Wright of Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises (search).
While admitting gaps still need to be filled in securing docks, security experts say a combination of improved intelligence and physical deterrence will better protect the nation's ports and the ships that use them.
Click here to watch a report by Fox News' Jonathan Serrie.