Coast Guard Amends Tampa Bay Security Zones

TAMPA, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port St. Petersburg, Capt. Joseph A. Servidio, amended existing Tampa Bay security zones Wednesday to refine, and in most cases, to reduce zone sizes to more effectively use limited Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement assets, while limiting restrictions on recreational and commercial vessel traffic.

“We are committed to reducing maritime security and safety risks while preserving the free flow of commerce and maximizing the safe and enjoyable recreational use of our waters. Our security zone implementation process conducted with our Area Maritime Security Committee partners, will help to provide needed maritime critical-infrastructure security,” said Servidio.

The following is a summary of the changes to Tampa Bay security zones previously published in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 165:

* The size of the security zone at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is reduced. It is now limited to the main ship channel directly underneath the main span of the bridge and includes a prohibition against contacting or mooring with any bridge structures, columns, and bases.

* The security zones north of Pendola Point in East Bay and south of the Tampa Port Authority’s R.E.K. piers on Hookers Point are both canceled.

* A new land-side security zone is established around the Chemical Formulators facility in Rattlesnake, Fla., just south of the Gandy Blvd. Bridge. This security zone does not impose any waterway restrictions.

* The security zone at the TECO Big Bend Power Plant is amended to include the cooling channel south of the power plant.

The revised Tampa Bay security zones were designed by a team of law enforcement officials and local maritime industry stakeholders who serve on the Area Maritime Security Committee. Committee membership includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security Infrastructure Protection Division, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Tampa Bay Urban Area Security Initiative, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Regional Domestic Security Task Force, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Port Authority, Port Manatee and key representatives from the Tampa Bay Harbor Safety and Security Committee.

The Area Maritime Security Committee conducts comprehensive, risk-assessment reviews, such as the one recently completed for security zones within Tampa Bay. These periodic risk-assessment reviews may result in additional refinements to security zones.

Establishment of an additional security zone around Manbirtee Key, a shoal island just west of Port Manatee, is being considered by the AMSC. A public meeting and 45- to 60-day public comment period will precede implementation of this proposed security zone. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announcing the details of the public meeting and public comment process will be published in the Federal Register.

For more information please visit the Sector St. Petersburg web site  under the Port Directory menu tab.

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