This Week in Maritime Security
This week in our new series about Maritime Security and Maritime Terrorism we feature the news of the past days including a Anthrax threat at the port of Long Beach, Maritime Security Drill in Alaska and we will report about the newest satellite based maritime security system.
Anthrax threat at the port of Long Beach
On April 3, 2008 at 10:30 am workers of the Port of Long Beach prevented a truck to enter a terminal on Pier T after they have discovered a container marked with black graffiti saying “Anthrax a gift from Osama”. Authorities, geared in protective suites and waring oxygen tanks, investigated the container in an isolated area of the port but discovered it to be empty. According to the Chief of the Long Beach Fire Department, the truck driver who did not speak Englich picked up the container in Wilmington. The case was given to the FBI, which took samples from inside the container and will need at least 72 hours to process the results.
Maritime Security Drill in Alaska
A simulated terrorist strike somewhere on the Juneau waterfront will be the centerpiece of a two-day multi-agency Maritime Security exercise planned for April 2 and April 3, 2008. Primary players will include the Alaska State Troopers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the City and Borough of Juneau, the Cruise Line Agency of Alaska and the U.S. Coast Guard. Numerous other federal, state and local agencies who are also members of the Southeast Area Maritime Security Committee will participate as well.
The purpose of the drill is to test the Southeast Alaska Maritime Security Plan by putting its provisions for cooperative response into action. Agency leaders will meet face-to-face to test their ability to coordinate their people, vehicles, vessels, communications equipment and other assets. Though the focus of the drill is on responding to a security-related event, the benefits of the exercise extend to government preparedness for any kind of disaster in Southeast Alaska. “The great thing about an exercise like this is that we get to bring multiple agencies together and improve the way we work together,” said LT Chris Williammee, Coast Guard Sector Juneau’s Chief of Planning. “We gain valuable ‘lessons learned’ that we can incorporate into our response plans.”
After a round of table-top discussions on Wednesday at Centennial Hall, agency leaders will direct a field response exercise from the Juneau Emergency Operations Center on Thursday morning. Juneau residents should not be alarmed to see unusual activity along the waterfront as shore-side and waterborne response teams converge on the site of the simulated emergency.
India’s Maritime Security Satellite System
According to the Wall Street Journal India is setting up a satellite-based information system to identify and track ships. India, which has signed the Solas agreements, expects to bolster with this long-range identification and tracking system its maritime security and lead to faster search and rescue of distressed vessels.
The system will be build by the Antrix Corporation which is the commercial arm of India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization. Named LITS, the system will be integrated with future land-based vessel-tracking systems, including that of the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy.