All ships entering Israeli ports will need to be equipped with new electronic identification devices starting next week, Israel’s Transportation Ministry announced yesterday.

The device, which will need to be installed on both domestic and foreign ships wishing to dock in Israel, has an electronic tag that emits a special detection code, enabling Israel to decide whether to grant authorization before the ship reaches shore.

Israel has been increasingly concerned that terrorists aboard a ship could try to perpetrate a large attack in the Jewish State. The new safety standard, which is also recommended by the International Maritime Organization, will allow Israel to identify all ships while they are still at sea, as opposed to the traditional method of ships using a short-range communication system to identify themselves once they draw close to an Israeli port.

The head of the ships and ports department in the Transportation Ministry, Aryeh Rona, said that according to the new standard, a security official will stand at the docks as one crew mate identifies every crew member before the ship is allowed into the country.

Israel has been using creative ways to increase border security ahead of Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza and disengagement from the Palestinians in 2005. Israel recently announced the creation of an 80-foot-deep moat at the Gaza border to keep terrorists out and stop the construction of weapons-smuggling tunnels. A Star Wars-like high-tech remote control border system, which will automatically detect and kill terrorists, is also in the development stages.

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