After flying in three security experts and conducting two days of anti-terrorism training at sea for its crew the MV TransPacific 8 on July 5 was permitted by the U.S. Coast Guard to re-enter Apra Harbor and offload 164 Toyotas at the Port of Guam.

The Panamanian-flagged ship was turned away by the Coast Guard on July 1 because it failed to meet new international security rules the day they took effect.

“They had a security plan on board but the crew was not very knowledgeable. They didn’t pass the security audit and sailed ” said Capt. Dale M. Rausch commander Marianas section of the U.S. Coast Guard.

After flunking the exam the MV TransPacific 8 sailed out 12 miles to international waters while Inchcape Shipping Services Guam LLC and the Coast Guard came up with an acceptable plan to clear the ship. “They said they would fly in company representatives to conduct training and they made a personnel transfer at sea ” said Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Sullivan a Coast Guard marine inspector. The Coast Guard allowed the ship to return to anchor in Apra Harbor as protection from the weather while it conducted training then successfully re-inspected the ship on July 5. “We were satisfied they were in substantial compliance with the ISPS Code.” Sullivan said the Coast Guard is familiar with the ship which regularly calls on Guam and it was never considered an immediate security threat.

After four days’ waiting at sea the ship tied up at the dock at 7 p.m. on July 5 unloaded the vehicles at night in about three hours and departed Guam at 11:45 p.m. The vehicles included Lexus and Toyota models including the new Toyota Scions in time for the July 17 opening of a special showroom for the new models aimed at Generation Y youngsters.

Dion P. Cadiz port manager for Inchcape Shipping said the wait at sea was costly. “We’re not privy to exactly how much it costs to operate the ship per day but there are substantial additional costs — salaries provisions and additional ship movements with pilots and tugboats.” The ship belongs to Toyo Fuji Shipping Co. the shipping arm of Toyota Motor Corp. Cadiz said three managers from Toyo Fuji who were well versed in the ship’s security plan were flown in from Kobe Japan to prepare the captain and the crew for the follow-up security exam.

“The Coast Guard was quite pleased and impressed to see them coming from Japan. It essentially showed they were committed to complying with the international standard of maritime security ” Cadiz said.

The Coast Guard said the Guam incident was one of three nationwide July 1 which was the first day the new rules — the International Shipping and Port Facility Security Code which is identical to the United States’ Maritime Transportation Security Act — went into effect. Ships also were turned away in New York and New Orleans.

Sullivan said the Coast Guard now boards every foreign-flagged vessel at its first U.S. port. “We do an ISPS verification exam to be sure they are in compliance with the code. We do a walk-through of the vessel to observe its condition and an assessment to be sure security measures are implemented secure areas are locked and the crew and ship’s security officer exhibit knowledge of the security measures.” He said the TransPacific 8 a roll-on roll-off car carrier called a Ro-Ro carried the necessary security certificate but the captain failed to demonstrate knowledge of the ship’s security plan. Other deficiencies were related to accessibility of certain areas of the ship monitoring and training and drills. The captain was the designated security officer.

Effective July 1 uniform security standards for shipping and ports were adopted worldwide to thwart terrorist attacks. Passenger and transport ships are required to carry certificates showing they comply with the new security measures which include a security plan and a security officer. Ship operators must show how they will prevent unauthorized weapons from being brought aboard.

Cadiz said Inchcape shipping one of Guam’s three major shipping agencies handles about 25 port calls per month. “This was a rarity. Our other ships have passed with flying colors.”

Inchcape Shipping formerly AK Steamship a division of Atkins Kroll Inc. became incorporated as a separate company on Guam in 1998. Inchcape Shipping handles port calls by Toyo Fuji ships with Toyotas for Guam and Saipan at the rate of one to two per month. Atkins Kroll is Guam’s Toyota and Lexus dealership.

Inchcape Shipping Services is a worldwide network of shipping agencies. Prior to 1998 it was a division of the Inchcape Group which own Atkins Kroll and Microl Corp. on Saipan but came under new ownership that year.

The ship was scheduled to deliver cars to Guam on June 29 two days prior to the code taking effect but it was delayed by Tropical Storm Tingting after delivering 50 Toyotas to Saipan. MBJ