This summer, 22 nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, over 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The biennial exercise is designed to establish and sustain cooperative relationships to ensure the safety of sea-lanes and security on the world's oceans. This exercise emphasizes the importance of the US Coast Guard’s Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) for U.S based marine-transportation related facilities by prioritizing safety and security.
The MTSA requires marine-transportation related facility owners to be responsible for facility security. The Act requires vulnerability assessments and security plan approvals. The marine transportation security aspects regulated by the USCG covers the entire facility, not just the transfer or “dock” area.
However, not all port located facilities are affected by the MTSA regulations. The MTSA requires that those facilities deemed “high risk” for transportation related security incidents must comply with regulations in order to continue operations. “High risk” facilities that mandate compliance with MTSA requirements are those that perform the following:
- Handle explosives, liquefied natural or hazardous gas, or other Certain Dangerous Cargoes (CDC)
- Transfer oil or hazardous materials
- Handle vessels covered by Chapter XI of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
- Handle passenger vessels certified to carry more than 150 passengers (if vessels actually embark or disembark passengers there)
- Handle cargo vessels greater than 100 gross registered tons
- Handle barges that carry cargoes regulated by 46 CFR, chapter I, subchapter D or O, or CDCs.
A facility that is deemed high risk must assign a Facility Security Officer (FSO). According to CFR 33 part 105, maritime security for facilities, a single employee may serve as the FSO for more than one facility, as long as the facilities are in the same Captain Of The Port (COTP) zone and are within 50 miles of each other. The FSO may also perform other duties within the company, but they must be able to perform the duties and responsibilities required of the FSO. The FSO must ensure and oversee the following duties:
- Facility Security Assessment (FSA)
- Facility Security Plan (FSP) is developed and implemented
- Annual audit, and if necessary, update the FSA and FSP
- The FSP is exercised per §105.220
- Regular security inspections
- Security awareness and vigilance of the facility personnel
- Adequate training to personnel performing facility security duties
- Security incidents are recorded and reported to the owner or operator
- Documentation of maintenance
- Preparation and the submission of any reports
- Any required Declarations of Security with Masters, Vessel Security Officers or their designated representatives
- The coordination of security services in accordance with the approved FSP
- Security equipment is properly operated, tested, calibrated, and maintained
- The recording and reporting of attainment changes in MARSEC Levels to the owner or operator and the cognizant COTP
- When requested, provide assistance to the Vessel Security Officers in confirming the identity of visitors and service providers seeking to board the vessel through the facility
- Timely notification to law enforcement personnel and other emergency responders of any transportation security incident
- The FSP submittal to the cognizant COTP for approval, as well as any plans to change the facility or facility infrastructure prior to amending the FSP
- Facility personnel are briefed of changes in security conditions
- Proper implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, if necessary.
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