Coast Guard Conducts Interagency Port Security and Preparedness Exercise

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Federal, state, local, non-governmental and private sector organizations conducted a full scale exercise at the Port of Green Bay on May 21, 2008 to practice, assess and improve the Lake Michigan Area Maritime Security Plan as well as the Lake Michigan Area Contingency Plan.

The port security exercise built on multiple interagency training workshops, planning sessions, and tabletop exercises held over the past year. Phase One, conducted 21-25 January, tested threat communications and intelligence information sharing among various agencies. Phase Two, on 30 April, tested the implementation of a Unified Command structure and development of an Incident Action Plan.

Yesterday’s full scale exercise utilized a multi-faceted security, hazardous materials, and terrorism scenario. Multi-agency response teams conducted vessel boardings, dive operations, hazardous materials response, and casualty evacuations.
According to Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Joe DuFresne, Commanding Officer Maritime Security Detachment Sturgeon Bay, said “This exercise demonstrated an outstanding ability of local resources, both private and public, to react and respond to a serious security and public safety threat in a collaborative, effective manner during the first critical hours of an incident. We were very pleased with the successful cooperation at all levels between local, state, federal, and commercial entities. The agencies involved met all of the exercise objectives and were able to develop several best practices to further refine incident response capability in the region.”

Coast Guard Captain Bruce Jones, the Federal Maritime Security Coordinator for Lake Michigan said “a successful response to a serious man-made or natural disaster is a tremendous challenge, not least because of the sometimes conflicting, but equally important, requirements of safety, security, law enforcement, intelligence gathering, medical and investigatory organizations. Working together under a unified command structure, with open and transparent information sharing and goal-setting, provides the ability to most effectively deploy limited resources, quickly broker jurisdictional issues, and ensure the safety and security of the affected communities.”

Agencies participating in the exercise included: USCG Sector Lake Michigan, USCG Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay, USCG Station Green Bay, USCG Station Sturgeon Bay, USCG Station Two Rivers, National Response Center, USCG Atlantic Strike Team, FBI, OSHA, CBP, EPA, Wisconsin Emergency Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin National Guard Civil Support Team, Northeastern Regional Hazardous Materials Team, Northeastern Wisconsin Regional Dive Team, Brown County Sheriff, Brown County Emergency Management, Brown County Port Department, Green Bay Police Department, Green Bay Fire Department, Green Bay Regional Safety & Security Committee, Bellin Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Vincent Hospital, Aurora Hospital, 9 Maritime Commercial Facilities, and the Salvation Army.

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