- Cargo & Facilities

8/28/2014: AMSC Conference- Continuing and new challenges to port safety and security

The Transportation Research Board is hosting the 15th Biennial Harbor Safety Committee and Area Maritime Security Committee Conference, in Philadelphia, Pa. The conference explores best practices, innovations and technology that addresses critical harbor and maritime safety and security issues.

Rear Adm. Stephen Metruck, commander of the Coast Guard’s Fifth District, was a keynote speaker in the morning kick-off session.

“The work of the AMSCs and the Harbor Safety Committees enhance the safety and security of our ports and waterways, the Nation’s economic lifeblood, is near and dear to my heart,” said Metruck.

His remarks were focused on continuing and new challenges to port safety and security.

“We have seen great strides and improvement in safety and security. Enhancements have been enabled by technology but the biggest gains, so far, have come from improved partnerships and relationships…the people side of the equation. The good news is that we are working better together than we ever have before. However, today we have continuing new challenges to our safety and security,”

Metruck discussed continuing and new challenges to port safety and security. In his remarks, he outlined six challenges:

• Geographical instability and threats from non-state actors that could do us harm.
• Aging shore side and transportation infrastructure.
• Resource and recapitalization limitations placed on government agencies based on budgetary reductions.
• Impacts from global climate change including sea level rise and storm events of increasing magnitude and frequency.
• Planning, prevention, and response activities to keep pace with the nation’s fossil fuel and renewable energy Renaissance.
• Increasing automation in the Maritime Transportation System and an increasing reliance on computers and information systems and the vulnerability of those systems.

Metruck also discussed a few Coast Guard initiatives on the topic of cyber security including compliance with the Executive Order to develop a focused effort to address cyber security within the Nation’s critical infrastructure. As a result of the Executive Order, the Coast Guard has required the inclusion of cyber as a threat nexus in the latest area maritime security port assessments. The Coast Guard is also working to update the Maritime Security Risk Assessment Model to account for cyber threats.

“The most effective means for strengthening the Maritime Transportation System from being vulnerable to cyber attacks is for everyone to take this threat seriously, for us to work together and share best practices and to take necessary action to safeguard our system from such attacks,” said Metruck. “It’s especially important for facility operators and facility security operators to include in their deliberations IT network professionals and include them in security conversations. The Area Maritime Security Committees are the right people to tackle these new challenges in the cyber world. “

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.