Coast Guard conducts Area Maritime Security Exercise in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico

Coast Guard along with responders from federal and local agencies and industry stakeholders conducted an Area Maritime Security Exercise Nov. 16, 2016, in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico. The exercise was designed to test the effectiveness of the Area Maritime Security Plan drafted by federal, state and local agencies and industry representatives as the framework for how to respond to port-wide security incidents in southern Puerto Rico. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard along with responders from federal and local agencies and industry stakeholders conducted an Area Maritime Security Exercise Nov. 16, 2016, in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard, in cooperation with responders from federal, state, local agencies and industry stakeholders, conducted an Area Maritime Security Exercise Wednesday in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico.

The annual table-top exercise is part of the nationwide Area Maritime Security Training Exercise Program (AMSTEP).

“These exercises are instrumental for federal and local agencies as well as our industry partners to deliver a well coordinated and unified response during a major maritime transportation security incident in Puerto Rico,” said Capt. Francisco Rego, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan deputy commander.

This exercise is being conducted to test the effectiveness of the Area Maritime Security Plan drafted by federal, state and local agencies and industry representatives as the framework for how to respond to port-wide security incidents in Southern Puerto Rico.

Exercise participants gathered at the EcoElectrica facility in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico to interface and evaluate their ability to respond to a maritime transportation security threat in the area. Agencies focused primarily on their processes to alert, mobilize and coordinate personnel, facilities and resources, which included establishing a Unified Command structure to coordinate interagency response operations.

The Coast Guard recognizes that providing maritime security in the Caribbean region requires the close coordination of area responders. The scenario involved in this table-top exercise challenged participants to identify key resources and organize interagency procedures during a port security incident, and update response plan information that will enhance future readiness coordination.

Participating agencies and industry organizations included: Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Coast Guard Resident Inspection Office Ponce, Coast Guard Incident Management Assistance Team, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, Federal Aviation Administration, City of Guayanilla Emergency Management, Puerto Rico Police Fuerzas Unidas de Rapida Acción, Puerto Rico Department of Health, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, EcoElectrica, Peerless Oil and Chemicals, Commonwealth Oil Refining Corporation; Pro Caribe, Petro Taino, Betteroads Asphalt Terminals, South Puerto Rico Towing, Luis A. Ayala Colon Inc., and DEMACO.

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