Australia’s Office of Transport Security (OTS), has said gaps in national maritime security system has allowed convicted criminals to work in the country’s ports.

According to the Department of Transport, 20% of Australia’s 12,500 maritime workers who had applied for a security card since October 2008 had a criminal record and 41% were denied a card,

The Maritime Security Identity Card scheme (MSIC), introduced six years ago, requires maritime workers to undergo criminal background assessment before being allowed to work.

The OTS claims however that the scheme has not successfully detected a range of offences.

The report also said that existing security system did not take into account criminal intelligence data held by the Australian Crime Commission.