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Policymakers have become increasingly concerned in recent years about the possibility of future maritime terrorist attacks. Though the historical occurrence of such attacks has been limited, recognition that maritime vessels and facilities may be particularly vulnerable to terrorism has galvanized concerns. In addition, some plausible maritime attacks could have very significant consequences, in the form of mass casualties, severe property damage, and attendant disruption of commerce. Understanding the nature of maritime terrorism risk requires an investigation of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences associated with potential attacks, as grounded both by relevant historical data and by intelligence on the capabilities and intentions of known terrorist groups. These risks also provide the context for understanding government institutions that will respond to future attacks, and particularly so with regard to the U.S. civil justice system. In principle, civil liability operates to redistribute the harms associated with legally redressable claims, so that related costs are borne by the parties responsible for having caused them. In connection with maritime terrorism, civil liability creates the prospect that independent commercial defendants will be held responsible for damages caused by terrorist attacks. This book explores risks and U.S. civil liability rules as they may apply in the context of these types of attacks.

"This book achieves its goal of providing a policy level discussion of maritime terrorism risk and liability. The liability discussion should be mandatory reading for policy makers, insurers, and private sector maritime business leaders. The qualitative discussion of the components of the risk of maritime terrorism and the discussion of specific scenarios are [also] very useful."

- Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

The research described in this report was conducted by the RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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