Full-scale area maritime security exercise held in Puerto Rico

Members of the unified command discuss operation logistics during the 2018 Area Maritime Security Training Exercise Program full scale exercise at the Puerto Rico Convention Center Nov. 7, 2018. The scenarios involved in this full-scale exercise challenged participants to make difficult decisions, carry out essential functions, and maintain a common operating picture, while focusing on Area Maritime Security Awareness, Prevention, and the sustainment of the Maritime Transportation System. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez.

Members of the unified command discuss operation logistics during the 2018 Area Maritime Security Training Exercise Program full scale exercise at the Puerto Rico Convention Center Nov. 7, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard along with more than 24 federal, state, local agencies and industry organizations, completed a full-scale area maritime security exercise Wednesday at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The exercise is part of the nationwide Area Maritime Security Training Exercise Program.

“Strengthening our maritime security is a top priority for the Coast Guard and the federal, local and industry partners that comprise the maritime community in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Capt. Gregory Magee, Coast Guard AMSTEP Exercise Unified Commander. “By continuously testing our collective ability to respond we build the proper relationships, processes, and address any potential vulnerabilities that will allow us to implement the necessary measures to help safeguard our citizens and ensure the security of our vital maritime transportation system on which our economy depends.”

This full-scale exercise tested the effectiveness and sought to improve the Area Maritime Security Plan drafted by federal, state, local agencies, and industry representatives as the framework for how to respond to port-wide security incidents in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

During the exercise, participating agencies and industry partners faced complex scenarios, which tested their ability to respond and coordinate during a simulated port security threat to the maritime transportation system in the Port of San Juan.

Agencies focused primarily on their ability to alert, mobilize and activate personnel, facilities and resources for an emergency response, tested their communications, and established a Unified Incident Command structure under National Incident Management System to coordinate interagency operations.

The scenarios involved in this full-scale exercise challenged participants to make difficult decisions, carry out essential functions, and maintain a common operating picture, while focusing on Area Maritime Security Awareness, Prevention, and the sustainment of the Maritime Transportation System.

Participating agencies and industry organizations included Department of Homeland Security, Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations, CBP Caribbean Air and Marine Operations Center, Transportation Security Administration, Government of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Ports Authority, Puerto Rico Department of Tourism, Puerto Rico Area Maritime Security Committee, North and South Coast Harbor Safety and Security Committees, Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, Luis Ayala Colon Inc., Total Petroleum, Puma “Energy” Caribe,. All Protective Service, Inc., Nutrimix, Argos, Best Petroleum, Molinos de Puerto Rico, Island Stevedoring, Bacardí, Tote Puerto Rico Terminals.

In 2002, U.S. Congress passed the Martime Security Act to prepare the Nation’s ports to deter future acts of terrorism. The MTSA of 2002 mandates that ports conduct annual training exercises to respond to anticipated security threats.

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