- Cargo & Facilities

1/6/2015: Area Maritime Security Plan – 5 Year cycle review

Written by Mr. Geoff White, security specialist – port recovery-  Office of Port and Facility Compliance

The Office of Port and Facility Compliance is pleased to announce that all 43 Area Maritime Security Plans, or AMSPs, have been updated by the Captains of the Ports, and approved by the Coast Guard Area Commanders. This year-long update process has involved substantial effort by both Captain of the Port staff and members of their respective Area Maritime Security Committees, or AMSCs.

AMSPs are required for each Captain of the Port zone per the Maritime Transportation Security Act, or MTSA, of 2002, and are based on a detailed risk-based area maritime security assessment of the Captain of the Port zone. AMSPs include protocols and procedures for awareness, preparedness, prevention, security response, communications and marine transportation system recovery coordination, making them an essential element of the layered security of our Nation’s ports. These detailed plans are written by the Captain of the Port staff with the advice and assistance of the local port stakeholders who comprise the AMSCs. AMSC members are dedicated individuals and can be members of other governmental agencies at either the Federal, State, Local, Tribal, or Territorial level, as well as members of law enforcement, owners/operators, first responder or any other party having a vested interest in the security of their respective port area that is subject to the requirements of the MTSA regulations.

This cycle’s AMSPs incorporated updated guidance regarding port-wide Area Maritime Security Assessments, replacing the Homeland Security Alert System with the National Terrorism Advisory System, 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act requirements and the latest changes to the Coast Guard’s organization structure.

In addition, the Marine Transportation System Recovery Plan guidance was updated to reflect the maturation of the Coast Guard’s Marine Transportation System Recovery program through both an update to the MTS Recovery Commandant Instruction, as well as lessons learned from real world MTS recovery events such has high/low water on the Mississippi river system and super-storm Sandy.

The 2014 Area Maritime Security Plans also begin to address the emerging cybersecurity threat. The Office of Port and Facility Compliance recommend that the Captains of the Ports identify three means of communicating with their port stakeholders in a cyber degraded environment. Guidance (Enclosure 4 to NVIC 09-02, Change 4) was provided that recommended consideration of cybersecurity as a potential exercise topic under the Information Security requirement of the Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program.

The updated Area Maritime Security Plans are available online in their respective Captain of The Port Zone Homeport communities. If you currently do not have access to Homeport, contact your local Coast Guard Sector to request access.

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.