Port of Philadelphia Conducts Maritime Security Exercise

PHILADELPHIA – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast Guard will sponsor a port security exercise today in Philadelphia to evaluate preparedness, prevention and the ability to respond to a terrorist-related incident.

This exercise, beginning Thursday at 8 a.m., will feature participation from the tri-state Philadelphia port community, including public and government agencies, and private industry. The goal of this exercise is to improve the connectivity of various surface transportation modes and enhance current area maritime security plans. Scenarios range from how officials and industry react to an explosion on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to additional suspicious, terrorist-related activity around the port. An incident command post will be established in Camden, N.J., at the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) headquarters.

The Port Security Training Exercises Program (PortSTEP) is focused on building links within the Area Maritime Security Committee. The Committee assists the Captain of the Port, Capt. David L. Scott, U.S. Coast Guard, in writing, reviewing and updating an Area Maritime Security Plan in addition to supporting other transportation entities that rely on a strong, secure port.

“PortSTEP is designed to benefit maritime and surface transportation security communities throughout the U.S. via a suite of training exercises, evaluations and accompanying information technology products,” said Noreen Brown, TSA’s PortSTEP Project Officer. “This information will prove invaluable as we work to balance freedom of commerce and protection of our nation’s transportation system.” The PortSTEP program will test security and response at 40 ports over the next three years.

In addition to TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard, other key players include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Department of Homeland Security; emergency preparedness and law enforcement from the states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; DRPA; and the major regional railroads and refineries are among participants in the PortSTEP exercise.

The Coast Guard as a sponsor of the exercise fulfills its role as Federal Maritime Security Coordinator by overseeing the implementation of the Area Maritime Security Plan which is part of a family of safety and security plans under the National Maritime Transportation Security Plan.

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