- Cargo & Facilities

8/27/2014: 2014 AMSC Conference- Resiliency planning for ports

The Transportation Research Board hosted the 15th Biennial Harbor Safety Committee and Area Maritime Security Committee Conference, in Philadelphia, Pa. August 26-27th, 2014. The conference explored best practices, innovations and technology that address critical harbor and maritime safety and security issues.

Capt. Kathy Moore, sector commander for Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, was a panelist in a session titled, ‘Desperately Seeking Resiliency.’

Moore spoke on how the Coast Guard promotes resiliency within the maritime community and lessons learned in recent opportunities that provide insight into what it takes to be resilient.

In her presentation, Moore identified a three-step process to resiliency planning. The steps she outlined were identification of threats, assignment of threat probability and estimation of consequences.

“Resiliency planning is a stakeholder activity. It is important to articulate what your tolerable floor or operational minimum is for your capabilities. You are going to want to analyze your operations and that could be… very complex,” said Moore.

Moore’s first discussion point was the identification of threats and the tolerable floor of operation for stakeholders.

“For various levels of disruption and being able to endure the disruption before it rises to the level where it warrants a protection or mitigation strategy,” said Moore, “Part of this conversation is identifying things which you will be resilient to without doing anything and reserve your planning and strategy efforts to those that are going to truly require measures to stem the disruption of be able to return to operations.”

Another consideration Moore discussed was seasonality. An example Moore provided was the Cape May, N.J. to Lewes, Del. ferryboats, which are very popular in the summer. Moore explained how a tolerable disruption would differ if it were to occur in the height of summer verses a disruption in the winter that may be more tolerable.

“Assessing risk is a multi-step effort. In developing a list of threats, it is important to look at both internal and external threats,” said Moore, “Our stakeholder committees may be more focused on the external threats. When we deal with our stakeholder committees, the likelihood is we are going to be very focused on the external threats but it’s also important to make sure that at least the dialogue touches on what an individual company may be facing in terms of an internal threat.”

Moore provided a list of example risks:

• Weather: wind, flood, storm surge, ice, snow, wild fire, earthquake, volcano

• Infrastructure: erosion, collapse, utility outages, sink holes

• Human incident: fire, explosion, cyber attack, accident system failure,

• Pandemic or quarantine

• Other disruptions: disruptions that may not affect your system but that occurs elsewhere and impacts your system. An example Moore provided was where one port has a disruption and needs to relocate operations. That would be an incident for the relocation port to be able to plan for and make sure they can accommodate the additional business.

The second step Moore discussed in relation to resiliency planning was to assign probability of risk to each threat.

“Deepwater Horizon changed our worst case planning scenario and established a new value of probability.

According to Moore, the third part of resiliency planning is to estimate the consequences of risks discussed. Moore spoke on how committees are good places to have discussions about port security under the protection of non-disclosure agreements in an effort to have realistic discussions about where vulnerabilities exist.

Moore concluded with three broad categories of resilient categories to leverage in resiliency planning:

• Protect: as part of the prevention process which can span from boarding up windows to moving ships to protected anchorage
• Duplicate: as part of the recovery process and provide redundancy where necessary to maintain the minimum ‘normal’
• Move: as part of the prevention and recovery process as a transfer or relocation of assets

“Evaluate the strategies and prioritize what you can tackle with the resources you have,” said Moore, “Investment is an important discussion but you also need to understand what the payback is. The goal is to keep our ports functioning more like a rubber ball and less like a glass Christmas tree ornament.”

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.