The Department of Homeland Security has issued a Quick Look Report on the Executive Summit for Small Vessel Stakeholder Leadership meeting held on March 11, 2011, in Arlington VA, on the release of the Small Vessel Security Implementation Plan. This Report can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/small-vessel-security-executive-summit-report-03112011.pdf.
RADM Paul Zukunft, USCG Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship, described the plan as “a guide for future action” and offered examples of how it would be implemented locally. The plan has a detailed strategic overview, with a layered defense approach containing flexibility to match local requirements. Progress has already been made “to advance interagency operations (centers, and interdiction) and improve coordination between stakeholders.” Area Maritime Security Committees will play a big role in advancing partnership with the localities involved in small vessel security.
More interesting points from the Quick Look Report: during a panel discussion between. Sean Moon, Transportation and Cargo Policy, DHS Office of Policy Development; Mr. Jeff Hoedt, Chief, Office of Boating Safety, USCG; and Mr. Daniel Piscopo, Trusted Traveler Programs, CBP, Mr. Moon stated that “the effort has affected the International Maritime Organization’s small vessel security guidelines and the plans of allied nations.” Moon also stated that another essential part of the plan is “a method to track actions so that the Secretary will know what is happening and what needs to happen to make the plan a success.”
From the Coast Guard, Mr. Hoedt “stated that the USCG approach would be to promote mandatory education of boaters about the threats and measures for safe operation of pleasure craft. The boating community can expect attention to uniform education standards at the federal level that will stress the rules about security zones and vessel ownership documentation.” He indicated that almost all states and territories maintain electronic records of vessel identification, “effectively providing a foundation for a national database.” The USCG has no plans for incorporating RFID as the mian means for vessel identification. The report states that a participant in the audience emphasized the need for support of America’s Waterways Watch and that the participant suggested a number of ways to increase the use of AWW.
Mr. Piscopo described the CBP Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS), http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/pleasure_boats/boats/svrs.xml.operators of small pleasure vessels, arriving in the United States from a foreign port or place to include any vessel which has visited a hovering vessel or received merchandise outside the territorial sea, are required to report their arrival to CBP immediately. This system “enables people to enroll online, facilitates an interview process, and grants approval to pre-file float plans. “ It has been extensively beta-tested, and currently has 6,700 members. It is now available in Florida and Puerto Rico but is expected to soon be implemented on the northern border with a subsequent national roll-out. CBP wants the system to be “available on a free and voluntary basis in time for the Memorial Day holiday.”
Another interesting remark was noted in the report by Robert Gauvin, USCG Office of Vessel Activities, who stated that “advances in positioning system technology were being explored to integrate automatic identification system (AIS) and emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) capabilities, making them less expensive and jointly supportive for safety and security.”
During RADM Zukunft’s closing remarks, he stated that the intent is to take advantage of existing technologies, such as Watchkeeper and commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software. (WatchKeeper: an information management system that coordinates and organizes port security information to help the Coast Guard and its port partners make the best use of their resources to keep America’s ports safe. From http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/newsroom/pdf/CG9newsletterMar11.pdf)”