Coast Guard tests Homeport Alert and Warning System

CHICAGO — The U.S. Coast Guard successfully completed a test exercising the Homeport Alert and Warning System (AWS) here Tuesday. The exercise included 27 Chicago-area members of the vessel and regulated facility industry.

AWS is a means of electronically passing urgent information to maritime and port stakeholders.

During the exercise, representatives were able to successfully receive and respond to test messages.

“The Homeport AWS is a critical tool for the federal government and Coast Guard to be able to communicate with maritime stakeholders, “said Cmdr. Paul Mehler III, commanding officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago. “The unique aspect of this exercise was the ability of industry to communicate acknowledgement of information back to the Coast Guard.”

This exercise was the first of several phases in the Chicago Trident Initiative, and effort to utilize the knowledge and experience of Chicago’s professional maritime community in maintaining port security.

The Trident Initiative also brings in the Chicago Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies, along with maritime industry and the Coast Guard, as the third tine in the Trident. The three groups will continue to train and test procedures to respond to security threats in the Chicago area.

The initiative will ultimately be a means of reporting suspicious activities, allowing an appropriate response by supporting agencies.

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