The U.S. Coast Guard International Port Security Program team hosted a six-member delegation from the International Ship and Port Security Compliance Unit of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force for a five-day engagement with representatives from the maritime industry in Port Everglades in early June.
“By exchanging best practices for port security with key members of the port security compliance staff from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami and our industry partners in Port Everglades, we are facilitating the safe and secure return of cruise ship operations between our two countries,” said Cmdr. Berne Wright of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force and lead delegate for the trip.
Five of the six delegates received the COVID-19 vaccine through the Port Everglades vaccination site to kick off the engagement. The group was a subset of many maritime industry workers receiving the vaccine as part of the cruise industry reopening effort. The delegation then participated in multiple capacity-building sessions with U.S. Coast Guard IPS staff, discussing port security plans, port facility security officer responsibilities, and proper implementation of various tools for port security practices.
“Port security is a key part of cruise ship operations globally,” said Cmdr. Don Davis, international port security liaison officer coordinator at the U.S. Coast Guard International Port Security Program. “We are always excited to work with our Bahamian partners who represent our third-largest global trading partner, and we all want the maritime transportation system to continue to operate smoothly.”
The Bahamian delegation attended security officer training with multiple agencies at Port Everglades and discussed port security operations with facility security officers at the SEACOR Island Lines bulk cargo facility and the cruise ship terminal throughout the week. On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise hosted the delegation to discuss coordination efforts for restarting cruise ship operations.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force have a long-lasting partnership ensuring the security of the marine transportation system in the Straits of Florida. Millions of passengers and millions of dollars in cargo transit the area each year safely and securely due to the continuous efforts of both organizations.
The International Port Security Program seeks to reduce risk to U.S. maritime interests, including U.S. ports and ships, and facilitate secure maritime trade globally in partnership with global maritime trading partners. Through international port visits, the discussion and sharing of port security best practices and the development of mutual interests in securing ships coming to the United States enhance both U.S. port security and the security of the global maritime transportation system.