Anderson warns over ferry terrorism risk

David Anderson QC has warned that there is a real threat of terrorists crossing from Northern Ireland to Scotland by ferry, in a report written before he stood down as the UK independent terrorism reviewer.

Anderson, who stood down as the terrorism reviewer at the start of March, said: "The threat of terrorists crossing from Northern Ireland to Scotland is a real and substantiated one.

"The Canary Wharf truck bomb of 1996, manufactured by the IRA in South Armagh, killed two people, injured more than 100 and caused £150 million worth of damage.

"It was transported from Larne to Stranraer on a Stena Lines ferry, then driven to London.

Anderson added: "On my visits in 2015/16 to the seaports of Kent and to Cairnryan and Loch Ryan in the south-west of Scotland, the common and strongly expressed refrain from ports officers on the ground was that they could do their jobs more effectively if they had better advance information about passengers arriving (and departing) by sea.

"In the absence of such information, it is impossible to target stops as precisely as it is, for example, at airports where advance passenger information is widely available."

A statement from Police Scotland said: "While there is a distinction between the type of passenger information available at a ferry port compared to an international airport, officers from Police Scotland's Border Policing Command work closely with operators at the respective ferry ports to ensure this is a safe environment for passengers who travel as well as the safety and security of communities elsewhere in the UK."

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