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Domestic Ports Division

Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC)

“AMS Committees are cornerstones in bolstering the lines of defense of our Nation’s ports.”

              - VADM Brian Salerno

 

History:

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, substantially changed the risk profile of the Nation’s ports, waterways, coastal areas, Maritime Transportation System (MTS), and Maritime Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KR). The Coast Guard responded by re-evaluating and strengthening its abilities to protect these assets from possible terrorist attack.

On November 25, 2002, the President signed into effect the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). The AMSCs were established under this Act, to provide a link for contingency planning, development, review, and update of Area Maritime Security Plans (AMSP), and to enhance communication between port stakeholders within federal, state and local agencies, and industry to address maritime security issues.

 Click on the below topics for further information.

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An AMS Committee is composed of at least seven members having an interest in the security of the area and who may be selected from various organizations and agencies. Contact your local COTP for information with regards to joining an AMS Committee

 

At least seven of the members must each have 5 or more years of experience related to maritime or port security operations.

Members appointed maybe selected from but are not limited to:

  •  Federal, Territorial, or Tribal government

  •  State government and political subdivisions

  •  Local public safety, crisis management and emergency response agencies

  •  Law enforcement and security organizations

  •  Maritime industry, including labor

  •  Port stakeholders affected by security practices and policies

  •  Additional partners and stakeholder may participate by invitation of the Captain of the Port with AMSCs

  •  Appointed members serve individually for a term of not more than 5 years

Introduction

  • As per NVIC 9-02 CH 3:

"The AMS Committee (AMSC) is charged with advising the FMSC on maritime security matters, including the initial development and continual review of the AMS Plan. The AMSC’s input is considered vital to the planning process as the Coast Guard seeks to build on Port Security Assessments to develop deterrence, protection, security response and recovery strategies and procedures for Transportation Security Incidents (TSI) and threats thereof and for other maritime security needs, and to heighten the level of security in the Nation’s ports and coastal waterways."

The AMS Plan should address the following elements, as applicable:

  • (a) Details of both operational and physical measures that are in place in the port at MARSEC Level 1;

  • (b) Details of the additional security measures that enable the port to progress, without delay, to MARSEC Level 2 and, when necessary, to MARSEC Level 3;

  • (c) Details of the security incident command-and-response structure;

  • (d) Details for regular audit of the AMS Plan, and for its amendment in response to experience or changing circumstances;

  • (e) Measures to prevent the introduction of dangerous substances and devices into designated restricted areas within the port;

  • (f) Measures to prevent unauthorized access to designated restricted areas within the port (e.g., TWIC);

  • (g) Procedures and expected timeframes for responding to security threats or breaches of security, including provisions for maintaining infrastructure and operations in the port;

  • (h) Procedures for responding to any security instructions the Coast Guard announces at MARSEC Level 3;

  • (i) Procedures for evacuation within the port in case of security threats or breaches of security;

  • (j) Procedures for periodic plan review, exercise, and updating;

  • (k) Procedures for reporting transportation security incidents (TSI);

  • (l) Identification of, and methods to communicate with, Facility Security Officers (FSO), Company Security Officers (CSO), Vessel Security Officers (VSO), public safety officers, emergency response personnel, and crisis management organization representatives within the port, including 24-hour contact details;

  • (m) Measures to ensure the security of the information contained in the AMS Plan;

  • (n) Security measures designed to ensure effective security of infrastructure, special events, vessels, passengers, cargo, and cargo handling equipment at facilities within the port not otherwise covered by a Vessel or Facility Security Plan, approved under part 104, 105, or 106 of this subchapter;

  • (o) Procedures to be taken when a vessel is at a higher security level than the facility or port it is visiting;

  • (p) Procedures for responding if a vessel security alert system on board a vessel within or near the port has been activated;

  • (q) Procedures for communicating appropriate security and threat information to the public;

  • (r) Procedures for handling reports from the public and maritime industry regarding suspicious activity;

  • (s) The jurisdiction of Federal, State, Indian Tribal, and local government agencies and law enforcement entities over area security related matters;

  • (t) Security resources available for incident response and their capabilities;

  • (u) Procedures for responding to a TSI;

  • (v) Procedures to facilitate the recovery of the Marine Transportation System after a TSI; and

  • (w) Identification of any facility otherwise subject to part 105 of this subchapter that the COTP has designated as a public access facility within the area, the security measures that must be implemented at the various MARSEC Levels, and who is responsible for implementing those measures.

The AMS Committee:

• Identify critical port infrastructure and operations

• Identify risks

Determine mitigation strategies and implementation methods

Develop and describe the process to continually evaluate overall port security

Provide advice to, and assist the COTP in, developing the AMS Plan

The AMS Committee also serve as a link for communicating threats and changes in Maritime Security

 

References
AMSC Brochure
NVIC 9-02 CH 4
33 CFR Chapter 1 Subchapter H Part 103

Updates

The Office of Port and Facility Compliance is pleased to announce the publication of a consolidated report on the status and work completed in 2017 by Area Maritime Security Committees (AMSCs). 

The implementation of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) mandated the establishment of regional AMSCs as collaborative forums for government and industry partners to work together to enhance security in the maritime environment.  This is accomplished through meetings, partnerships, networking, information sharing, training, vulnerability assessments, and development of plans and strategies.

AMSC Contact:

The Domestic Ports Division has created a list of Executive Secretariats for their respective Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC). This list will allow our maritime industry partners the ability to directly contact the pertinent representatives concerning questions about the AMSC in their area. Additionally, it will assist in allowing the maritime industry to contact other AMSCs for issues of mutual interest as well as facilitate better coordination between industry and the AMSCs.

Please contact Dr. Robyn Kapperman with any questions or concerns about this list.