Course Objective – Examine Vessel and Cargo Operations, the current terrorism threats to port maritime operations, Access Controls and Physical Security Issues in the Port Facility, and Safety and Emergency Management measures.
Instructions: Your initial post should be at least 350 words.
Port Facility Safety and Emergency Management and Technology
“The types of operations that occur day in and day out in modern port facilities include significant levels of industrial activities that lend themselves to risks of death, personal injury, and property damage”…Kenneth Christopher, Port Security Management.
Safety Management in the Port Facility
In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was born from legislation enacted to provide a safe working environment for U.S. employees. This act was applicable to both the public and private sector. U.S Port facilities are exposed to many safety and potential emergency management challenges considering the multitude of port operations engaged with vessels, cargo, and transportation activities ongoing in daily port activities. As a result, a Port Safety Officer (PSO) must be appointed to manage the port facilities’ safety and risk management programs. The PSO will be responsible for establishing and maintaining an accident prevention program to educate employees and to prevent on-the-job accidents. The PSO is the liaison between the port facility administration and OSHA (Christopher, 2015).
Safety program management in the port is essential to daily port production and the health and welfare of the entire workforce. Below is an excellent OSHA video that discusses actual incidents that occurred in U.S. shipyards, to include an analysis of what happened and how to prevent such deadly incidents. Unfortunately, all these events depicted in the video resulted in loss of life. Though the video is 40 minutes in length, you are encourage you to view it in its entirety, as it covers the majority of safety issues one would find in the port or shipyard.
Situational Awareness/Situational Readiness (SA/SR)
The Effect on Port Safety and Emergency Management
On December 17, 2003, President Bush signed the Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-8. The PD-8 directive established policy to strengthen and enhance emergency preparedness in order to effectively prevent and respond to natural and manmade threats or domestic terrorist attacks. After HSPD-8 was published, the National Response Plan was developed to manage incidents by coordinating efforts between federal, state and local departments as well as the private sector to respond more efficiently to a community incidents. In 2008, the National Response Framework replaced the National Response Plan and it specifically defined the roles and structure of how the federal government would engage in a “national response doctrine” with all levels of government including the private sector (DHS/FEMA).
After watching the video, it should be obvious that awareness is paramount to the safety and security of the port or any shipyard facility. As stated in the week six assigned reading, the port FSP (Facility Security Plan) must be a living document. It is not applicable if it is only published and not updated. Moreover, the FSP must articulate the construct and nature of two critical elements that impact port safety and security, SA and SR.
Situational awareness is simply defined as understanding your environment and the threats that one may face within that environment. Situational awareness also requires port managers to have a full and realistic view of the practices, procedures, and resources available to them during an emergency situation. Situational readiness concerns many of those same concepts as awareness, but replies on force capabilities and considers whether or not an organization is actually ready to respond to an incident. Once the port authority plans and procedures have been identified the PSO must ensure that they are ready to respond based on those plans. Acquiring needed resources, maintaining inter and intra-agency relations, and practicing response plans in the form of test and exercises, all fall under situational readiness. When combined, knowledge of situational awareness and readiness allows PSO’s to provide a far higher level of safety and security, regardless of the situation they may be faced with.
Emergency situations, by definition, typically include an element of urgency. Time is a crucial factor in addressing threats, limiting damage, and mitigating risk. Therefore, the sooner appropriate action can be taken in a crisis, the more effective the response becomes. Absent SA and SR within the port, a natural or manmade incident will likely result in increased loss of life and or destroyed facilities or sea vessels. Being knowledgeable and ready to act in the event of an incident is the most important job for everyone!
Managing Technology Solutions for Port Facility Security
New technology being considered for integration or already in use requires that the port security manager have a comprehensive and complex understanding of that technology. The port security manager must ensure the technology is considered and discussed within a port facility security plan. The inability to comprehend the systems in place and how all applications and sensor systems interact will jeopardize the ability to maintain SA and SR.
In general, advanced technology systems integration is vital to port operations safety and security because it gives those charged with protecting the port an advanced warning of unusual occurrences that could arise during port and shipyard operations. Port security management can only inspect the surface, while advanced technology systems and applications can search beneath the surface. For example, x-ray machines and infrared security cameras demonstrate how these components of technology are so imperative. The capability to locate and determine if certain situations, events and personnel are a threat to port and maritime operations is critical. These types of technology systems would give security management personnel the means to see the threats that would not normally be able to be detected by the human eye. This equipment and technology also keeps the security personnel more secured and safe because it allows them to approach the threat or risk with a better understanding of what risks and threats are involved. With the combination of effective security management and advanced technology integration, safety and security threats are alleviated and eliminated before they actually become an issue.
As Christopher (2015) discussed, situational awareness…whether on a personal or facility-wide level, aids in the early detection of potential problems. More time equates to more options, or the opportunity to implement previously developed response plans. In addition, planning itself can be influenced by an awareness of the operational security environment, both inside and outside of the facility itself. Also, a good deal of SA can be gained by having a culture where port workers report things that appear to be out of place or just don’t look right. The port security manager must motivate the work force to understand the potential damage to port facilities and personal consequences to them by failing to report unusual situations. They will be more inspired to report even seemingly innocuous situations to the port security command center. Having a strong security awareness program and constantly promoting a healthy security and safety culture helps to increase worker’s buy-in for the port safety and security program.
Likewise, having effective situational readiness in a port allows for the quick deployment of resources once a potentially threatening or hazardous situation becomes apparent. As mentioned above, training is an important aspect of situational readiness, since many emergencies do not allow the luxury of having time to develop and examine situations in great detail. Bottom line, critical decisions must be made, and correct actions taken quickly. It is not advisable to wait until you smell smoke to start thinking about a fire escape plan. While specific conditions may certainly impact existing plans, early detection through advance technology sensors (increases situational awareness) allows time to implement response plans (increases situational readiness), making the combination of these two conditions extremely important.
Lastly, technology serves as a force multiplying element for port security functions. It can make the detection of illicit or hazardous cargo much more efficient and effective than “low-tech” measures alone. A primary way in which this helps is in the identification of cargo which warrants closer inspection by security personnel. Considering the huge amounts of cargo which are received by port facilities, close inspection of every container is practically impossible to achieve without choking the whole process down. Technology can help isolate areas where additional attention is needed, while affecting the majority of legitimate cargo processing as little as possible, or in fact expediting such processing. Technology, such as automated and remote surveillance devices, is not just useful for alarming us for safety events (fire, toxic environmental, etc.), but also any important situation or event impacting the general port security structure. Advanced technology within the port ultimately supports safety and security while conducting port operations across the full spectrum of cargo and non-cargo operations (Christopher, 2009, pp. 252-253).
New technology being used in port maritime security shows the complex technology that port security managers must consider within a port facility security plan.
X-ray and radiation portal monitoring equipment scan cargo containers
Intelligent video systems for monitoring cargo and activities in port terminals
Crane-mounted sensors to scan containers during lifting and port–vessel transfer processes
Radio frequency identification tags on cargo containers to track movement and location
Intelligent device management to monitor changes in cargo container dynamics
Maritime domain awareness systems incorporating diverse technologies to maintain situational awareness in the maritime sector
Christopher, K. (2015). Port Security Management, 2nd Ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, (ISBN # 13: 978-1-4200- 6893-1) e-book.
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