In March, we announced the winners of the Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award for Excellence in maritime security. Since April, leaders from around the Coast Guard have presented awards to the five winners. Rear Adm. John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy, made the final presentation earlier this week, and Maritime Commons is now pleased to share additional details about the achievements that earned the five winners this prestigious award.
The biennial Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis award serves to highlight and recognize outstanding achievements and contributions of the maritime community related to implementation of Maritime Transportation Security Act, or MTSA, requirements and other maritime security best practices in safeguarding our nation’s marine transportation system. The award is named for Richard Bennis who, while serving as Captain of the Port of New York, organized the extraordinary waterborne evacuation of nearly 500,000 people from lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001.
This award recognizes organizations demonstrating a true comprehensive culture of security and encourages all regulated organizations to assess their overall security program to identify strengths and weaknesses, seek creative solutions for addressing known risks, build a system of continuous improvement, and share best practices that would benefit similar organizations.
Following is a summary of the accomplishments of the five recipients of the 2018 Bennis awards.
Winner – Port Authority: Port of Houston (Houston, Texas)
The Port of Houston, considered the nation’s busiest breakbulk port, facilitated the safe and secure movement of more than 241 million tons of cargo, and is ranked #1 in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage and U.S. imports. The Port of Houston is ISO 28000 certified (specification for security management system for the supply chain), holds various key leaderships positions in the local Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC), and is an avid participant in an array of other committees that address maritime security issues. The Port of Houston volunteered to chair the AMSC’s newly formed Facility Security sub-committee to improve communication and information sharing between the various MTSA-regulated facilities and regularly hosts meetings to bring federal, state, and local partners together to discuss and bolster maritime security.
Winner – Large Facility: Chemours Washington Works (Parkersburg, West Virginia)
Chemours Washington Works’s inclusive approach cultivated positive partnerships in the Ohio Valley region ensuring effective information sharing with federal, state, and local partners, enhancing maritime security on the Ohio River. Chemours initiated its first-ever Active Shooter Exercise in its 68-year history. The exercise tested security procedures and determined best practices and lessons learned to effectively respond to criminal or terrorist activity. The exercise was a great success, included participation by state and local partners, and opened the door for continuous dialogue and partnership within the community. Additionally, Chemours worked with the local county emergency management office to lease some of its property, which paved the way for the construction of a communications tower. This action will improve first responder and public safety communications, where currently none exists, while simultaneously enhancing radio coverage and communications in adjoining areas.
Winner – Small Facility: Lucy Woodstock (Memphis, Tennessee)
Lucy Woodstock is situated between the Mississippi and Wolf rivers and is comprised of eight employees. This small facility serves as the vice chair on the Memphis AMSC, hosts the AMSC’s monthly executive steering committee, and is actively engaged in other committees and groups that focus on bolstering maritime security and safety in the local area. The facility holds awareness training to educate first responders and public official liaison personnel on the type of vessels and cargoes transferred into and from the facility, which include anhydrous ammonia and other bulk liquid dangerous cargoes. Additionally, Lucy Woodstock acknowledges emerging technologies and has taken a proactive stance to attend cyber security conferences to better understand this activity and improve its ability to address risks associated with cyber advancements.
Winner – Large Company: Statue Cruises (Jersey City, New Jersey)
Statue Cruises provides passenger ferry services from New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey to high profile tourist areas such as Liberty State Park, Ellis Island, and Liberty Island. The company employs 10 Coast Guard-certificated vessels and ferried nearly 10 million passengers to these popular tourist areas in 2016 and 2017. The company is an active member of the local AMSC and led the way to initiate a large-scale active shooter tabletop exercise in order to allow federal, state, and local partners to discuss and address the complexities of a dual-state response effort. Additionally, Statue Cruises served as the industry facilitator of a lower Manhattan emergency evacuation to support public safety of New York and New Jersey residents. The exercise included many of the same critical support resources from the active shooter exercise, but focused on the response and coordination of an efficient and effective evacuation effort by waterborne transportation, following the legacy action and preparedness of Rear Admiral Bennis during 9/11.
Winner – Small Company: Port of Texas City Security Council (Texas City, Texas)
The Port of Texas City Security Council (PTCSC) employs two full time employees and one part time employee. Its principal purpose is to provide security services to its 15 business members of which 11 are regulated under MTSA. PTCSC is a regular participant in the local AMSC, the AMSC’s executive steering group, Port Security Grant subcommittee, and the regulatory working group. PTCSC began the development of a cyber security policy in line with the NIST to assess cyber vulnerabilities and mitigate or eliminate the impact of those vulnerabilities. Additionally, PTCSC implemented a security officer and security shift supervisor recognition program that recognizes personnel every month for outstanding performance of day-to-day duties, instilling pride and heightened vigilance.
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.