Coast Guard partners with private industry, state and local agencies to test maritime security tool

7th Coast Guard District NewsTAMPA BAY, Fla. – Coast Guard members from Sector St. Petersburg partnered with state and county officials during a joint agency exercise in the Port of Tampa, Wednesday.

The goal of the joint agency exercise was to test the abilities of Whisprwave’s Small Craft Intrusion Barrier (SCIB). According to Whisprwave, the equipment’s designer, the SCIB is designed for adverse marine conditions and creates a barrier to intrusions by unauthorized, stray or threatening vessels.

Coast Guard officials were aboard a state law enforcement response boat working cohesively with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel, and other state and county officials to test the abilities of SCIB. During the evolution, the SCIB was towed through the Port of Tampa. This allowed officials the opportunity to see first-hand how the maritime security tool responds in real-time situations. Coast Guard boatcrew members aboard a 25-foot Response Boat from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg were also on scene to closely observe the SCIB test.

“This was absolutely a successful exercise,” said Edmond R. Morris, Sector St. Petersburg’s Port Security Officer and retired Coast Guard Cmdr. “We gained knowledge relating to the logistical requirements to deploy and retrieve the boat barrier, the physical readiness of the barrier system and provided individual familiarity to currently assigned Coast Guard law enforcement and emergency response personnel relating to the barrier.”

It is paramount that local, state and county officials partner with the public and private companies during these evolutions because the National Infrastructure Protection Plan requires it. The NIPP is national plan that mandates the methods for security within the U.S. and in that plan it mandates a public/private partnership to provide security. In those partnerships are private industry, federal, state and local agencies, and related organizations and associations.

“The Tampa Port Authority¬†is proud to partner with the Coast Guard on security initiatives that have positive implications for the safety of Florida’s largest and most diversified sea port,” said Richard Wainio, Tampa’s port director and chief executive. “The Coast Guard is a key partner in developing ongoing safety and security plans for the Port of Tampa and Tampa Bay.”

The barriers are the property of the Tampa Port Authority (TPA), procured under a Port Security Grant from the Department of Homeland Security for use by the TPA for security during heightened or sensitive evolutions. When not in use, the barrier is permanently stored on TPA property near the Hillsborough County Sheriff Office marine division, so it can be close to the critical infrastructure it’s designed to protect.

For more information on the Whisprwave’s Small Craft Intrusion Barrier, please click here:


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