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Experts get acquainted with the Riga Port infrastructure crucial for the national security

Last week – from 30 May to 1 June – employees of the Internal Security Service of the Freeport of Riga Authority and officials of the Port Police of the Freeport of Riga Authority took part in a regional Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) workshop organised jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia and the USA. The aim of the workshop was to discuss current global threats and promote regional cooperation in combating and control of illicit movement of weapons of mass destruction, WMD delivery systems and related raw materials.

Within the framework of the workshop, a practical exercise was undertaken – an exercise simulating a real situation related to the illicit movement in transit through Latvian ports of raw materials used for manufacturing WMDs. The participants also visited the port waters of the Port of Riga in order to learn first-hand about the functions of both the Port Police and the Port`s Internal Security Service – operations to be undertaken in the area of cargo control, particularly in relation to transit cargo, and work related to the movement of dangerous cargo.

“It is only possible to fully guarantee the security of an object as large and complex as the Port of Riga by means of coordinated cooperation of all the institutions in charge of the various aspects of security,“ Artis Zīders, Deputy Head of the Port Police, emphasised during the visit. The range of organisations that the Port Police cooperates with is extensive, including the Security Police, State Border Guard, State Firefighting and Rescue Service, the Coast Guard Service of the Latvian Naval Forces, the National Customs Board of the State Revenue Service, the Latvian Maritime Administration and the Food and Veterinary Service and the State Environmental Service. Zīders noted: “Under current circumstances, improvement of security technologies and continuous acquisition of new knowledge and skills for employees is essential. Organising training in the territory of the port to simulate various types of threats, the prevention of which various emergency and rescue services and security institutions take part, is a regular practice.”

Internal affairs, defence and foreign affairs experts from Latvia, USA, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Georgia and Ukraine took part in the workshop. Previously, such regional workshops have also taken place in Lithuania and Estonia.

The Freeport of Riga is not only an important part of the Latvian economy but also an essential component of national infrastructure of critical relevance. NATO cargo and various types of military cargo are transported through the port. Over the past two years, 14 ships have been serviced with military machinery in the port of Riga, including the Endurance, which is the largest cargo ship to have been serviced in the port. Considering the fact that the territory of the port of Riga covers an area of over 6300 hectares and large-scale economic activity takes place in its territory, the Freeport of Riga Authority pays a lot of attention to security issues in the Port of Riga.

The Port Police was established as a structural unit of the Freeport of Riga Authority in 2011. Its main functions are to ensure security in the territory of the port, check whether the port regulations are being complied with, monitor the movement of persons, vehicles and cargo, as well as to ensure coordinated implementation of security measures in the port.