Commercial Vessel Compliance

12/17/2015: Maritime security – Time for a review

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security released an advisory bulletin describing recent terrorist activity, U.S. government counterterrorism efforts and actions the public can take to remain alert, be prepared and stay informed. The Coast Guard encourages maritime stakeholders to read this advisory and to review their own security procedures.

The upcoming holidays are a time to spend time with our friends and families. This is also a good time to review security measures, and to be alert for suspicious activity.   The Coast Guard has no information suggesting that terrorists are actively targeting commercial vessels, facilities or other maritime critical infrastructure in the United States.

The Coast Guard encourages vessel and facility operators, and the maritime community as a whole, to review their security procedures, and to remain vigilant for suspicious activity or behavior. For vessel and facility operators regulated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act, these procedures include:

  • Ensure all MARSEC 1 procedures are in place and performing as expected;
  • Conduct all required drills and exercises on schedule;
  • Ensure lighting, alarms, cameras and other emergency equipment identified in facility security plans and vessel security plans are functioning;
  • Ensure security personnel are following proper access control procedures, including use of TWIC;
  • Report suspicious activity to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802, and to the local Captain of the Port. America’s Waterway Watch provides information on suspicious activity, as does the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative;
  • Be alert for suspicious cyber activity. This season creates opportunities for a wide range of actors to use phony charitable donations, gift ideas and other topics as a way to lure individuals into clicking on links or disclosing personal or financial information. When in doubt, delete any such solicitations without opening attachments or clicking on links. For more information, see https://www.staysafeonline.org/;
  • Additional information on cyber risks is available on the cyber security tab of the Coast Guard’s Homeport site, at U.S. CERT and ICS-CERT, and by reviewing the NIST Framework.

The Coast Guard also encourages members of the maritime community to participate in their local Area Maritime Security Committees. These local forums include representatives from the private sector, as well as federal, state, local and tribal governments.

Maritime security is a shared responsibility, and the Coast Guard relies on the patriotism, vigilance and professionalism of the maritime community to help keep our nation secure.