Coast Guard hosts maritime security and pollution response exercise

Providence, R.I. – The Coast Guard sponsored an exercise in Providence today for more than 30 federal, state and local agencies, and about a dozen private companies to discuss how they would respond to a terrorist attack and subsequent hazardous materials release in the port of Providence.

“The exercise gave us an opportunity to bring together all of the specialized teams at the federal, state and local levels for an unprecedented response in the Port of Providence,” said Coast Guard Capt. Ray Perry, captain of the port of Southeastern New England. “The partnerships developed through these exercises are invaluable for developing coordinated efforts of federal, state and local agencies and our industry partners for an all hazards event in the port.”

The exercise required participants to evaluate the Area Maritime Security Plan and the Area Contingency Plan for response protocols and integration of the many specialized response teams in Rhode Island. These teams include the Army National Guard 13th Civil Support Team for Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Statewide Hazardous Response Team and the Rhode Island State Police’s WMD Tactical Team.

The objectives of the exercise were accomplished through discussion of these teams’ capabilities, integration with other response assets, and the overall management of this type of response. Although this year’s exercise was discussion based, the plan for next year is to have a full scale exercise where the teams actually practice a response to an incident in the port.

The exercise is part of a joint planning effort between members of the Southeastern New England Area Maritime Security Committee and is designed to fulfill the annual requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

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