Boaters invited to learn more about anti-terrorism effortsThe U.S. Coast Guard has published security regulations designed to protect America's ports and waterways from a terrorist attack.

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Portland has scheduled a series of meetings to introduce the new regulations to the maritime industry. A meeting for vessel officers is scheduled Nov. 19 and a meeting for facility officers is scheduled Nov. 21.

The result of intense international and domestic efforts that began in November 2001, the regulations build on port security strategies begun following the Sept.11, 2001, attacks and implement portions of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

The security regulations focus on those sectors of maritime industry that have a higher risk of involvement in a transportation security incident, including various tank vessels, barges, large passenger vessels, cargo vessels, towing vessels offshore oil and gas platforms, and port facilities that handle certain kinds of dangerous cargo or service the vessels listed above.

The regulations require security measures that have three scalable levels. Depending on security needs, measures may include passenger, vehicle and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment.

To promote innovation and flexibility, the Department of Homeland Security is encouraging the private sector to develop acceptable alternatives to accommodate specific security measures. Alternatives that afford a level of security equal to the original regulation may be presented by individual industry entities.

The regulations amend other sections of the Code of Federal Regulations to implement Automatic Identification System requirements for certain vessels, as required by MTSA. AIS is a system of equipment and technologies that automatically sends detailed ship information to other ships and shore-based agencies. Installing AIS equipment on certain vessels traveling in U.S. waters will allow comprehensive, virtually instantaneous vessel tracking and monitoring, increasing security and safety in U.S. shipping channels, and Americans' awareness of maritime activity, leaders say.

The regulations were developed through interagency teamwork within the Department of Homeland Security (the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection) and with the Department of Transportation?s Maritime Administration.

Registration for the meetings is required and class size is limited. Those interested may call Lt. Elizabeth Watson at (503) 240-2468 or Master Chief Petty Officer Paul Manly at (503) 240-2556.

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