Maritime security and safety experts are meeting in Nassau, Bahamas, this week to examine mutual threats and solutions, and challenges and opportunities in the region. Maritime Security 2014 Caribbean is being held Oct. 29-30, at the Melia Nassau Beach hotel, attended by representatives of government and industry.
In addition to security threats from criminals or terrorists, there is a heightened awareness today of the environmental threats posed by norovirus and ebola, and other communicable health problems.
The commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Commodore Roderick Bowe, delivered the keynote address. Bowe explained the Bahamas recapitalization of its maritime capability through the planning and execution of the ambitious Project Sandy Bottom for port and ship construction.
Stephen L. Caldwell, director for Maritime Security and Coast Guard Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office provided an overall assessment of the cruise industry’s challenges, and offered his review and analysis of the U.S. Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, as well as an overview of the U.S. Coast Guard and partner agency successes and challenges in Caribbean drug interdiction operations.
Luis R. Torres-Meléndez, chairman of Puerto Rico South Coast Harbor Safety and Security Committee discussed the importance of integrating technology to protect maritime facilities, and how public-private partnerships are vital for the mutual security and efficient operation of critical infrastructure and key resources.
Brian Kane, director of research and development for Global Ocean Security Technologies explained some of the methods of theft of privately owned boats, and how boat owners can protect themselves with alarms and tracking systems.
The Turks & Caicos Islands is a small country with limited resources, but its location in the middle of busy shipping lanes and its popularity as a cruise ship port of call have prompted the government to develop crisis plans. Virginia Clerveaux, Ph.D., director of Disaster Management and Emergencies, Turks & Caicos Islands, says the country now has contingency plans for the management of incidents and accidents for its ports, cruise ships and other marine vessels, and oil spill in its waters, and is training people in the incident command system.
Maritime disasters tend to be international in scope, so partnerships and agreements can be critical in all stages of an incident response. “We need to exercise and update our plans,” Clerveaux says.