Why we have to pay attention to small port security
By: Geoff Kohl
On Tuesday of the ASIS show, I had the genuine pleasure of joining a number of security professionals to hear from Laurie Thomas of the University of Findlay (located in Ohio) about the topic of maritime security. Thomas is part of the University of Findlay’s School of Environmental and Emergency Management, and is involved in areas of security training, emergency operations and terrorism preparedness.
Her presentation was titled “Maritime Security: It’s not just for the megaports,” and her arguments on why smaller ports need to focus on security was very informative. While we all tend to think of locations like the Port of Long Beach, Port of L.A. and other such megaports as the facilities which we must protect to ensure our nation’s cargo supply chains go uninterrupted, Thomas pointed out that there’s still a lot going on at our smaller ports.
With many large rivers in our nation that support shipping deep inland, there is a great deal of merchandise, equipment, materials and chemicals being moved around our inland waterways, and according to Thomas, these aren’t being given the security focus they need. Admittedly, there is some oversight and effort to protect these ports (they still fall under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard for overall security analysis), but the coordination for security and emergency response hasn’t been equal at these ports.