Submitted by Mr. Nick Parham, Outer Continental Shelf, Area Maritime Security Coordinator
The Gulf of Mexico Area Maritime Security Committee held its annual general meeting March 21 at the City Council Chambers in Kenner, Louisiana, to update stakeholders on the state of security planning and operations, including any emerging threats to their assets, as well as best practices that have been discovered to mitigate those threats. More than seventy people who work in the realm of maritime security in the Gulf of Mexico attended the meeting, which also provided an opportunity for networking amongst security stakeholders in order to build a wider network of resources for enhancing security in the Gulf of Mexico. The area of responsibility for the Gulf of Mexico AMSC includes offshore areas from the Texas-Mexico border to the Western Florida panhandle.
Rear Adm. Paul F. Thomas, commander of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District and Federal Maritime Security Coordinator for the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf, addressed the gathering of maritime security stakeholders. Thomas’s remarks focused on the growing number of cybersecurity attacks in the maritime realm and the unique threats these attacks posed for the oil and gas industry operating on the Gulf of Mexico OCS. He encouraged attendees to be proactive in their approach to countering cybersecurity threats and strengthen communications amongst companies operating in the OCS.
The meeting continued with a presentation from Christy Coffey, executive vice president of member services for the Maritime and Port Security Information Sharing and Analysis Organization. Coffey presented several case studies involving cyber attacks in the maritime domain that occurred during 2018 and some of the lessons learned from those attacks. Coffey then led a panel discussion with speakers from several areas of the cybersecurity realm. The other panel members were as follows:
– Ms. April Danos, director of information technology, Greater Lafourche Port Commission
– Mr. Bryan Rouleau, maritime analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center
– Mr. Andy Lee- Partner, Jones Walker LLP, and co-author of the 2018 Maritime Cybersecurity Survey
– Col. Jim Rowan, USMC (ret.), cyber and IT security principal, Alitek Solutions
The meeting concluded with a brief of activities from the Gulf of Mexico AMSC’s three subcommittees. Information from the annual meeting and the subcommittee reports helps improve the Gulf of Mexico Area Maritime Security Plan. The Gulf of Mexico AMSC will be exercising that plan later this year. Anyone interested in participating in the exercise should contact Mr. Nick Parham, executive secretary for the Gulf of Mexico AMSC, at (504) 671-2044 or Charles.N.Parham@uscg.mil.
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