PORT ST. MAARTEN – Personnel from Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) and the national emergency services, successfully completed a live maritime security drill on Thursday, February 23 between 9:00 am and 12:00pm at the cargo section of the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility.
The number of persons that took part in the large-scale exercise was approximately 70+ emergency response personnel and actors. The exercise allowed the port and emergency services to test their readiness in the event of an accident at the country’s main port of entry for cruise ships and cargo vessels.
During a debriefing right after the exercise, all roles and processes were assessed, and recommendations made where necessary to further strengthen the response of all stakeholders. This was the first large scale drill exercise that was conducted by PSG in the last few years.
A large-scale maritime security exercise is required every 18-months according to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code requirements. The ISPS Code came into force on July 1, 2004, and is applicable to all vessels over 500 gross tons operating on international trades, as well as the ports that provide a service to them.
“The drills’ primary objective was to practice the skills, test the equipment involved and validate the procedures relating to the scenario that was carried out last Thursday. We plan to conduct additional drills as we move forward.
“The exercise ensured that PSG staff and members of the emergency services are able to work in sync in dealing with an emergency. It is of paramount importance that all stakeholders maintain a high level of readiness.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all participating stakeholders namely, the Police Department, Fire and Rescue Service Department, the Coast Guard, the Dutch Marine St. Maarten Detachment, the Department of Communication (DCOMM), senior management, PSG personnel and the Point Blanche community for their collaboration during this successful exercise,” PSG Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said.
The ISPS Code provides a framework through which ships and port facilities can cooperate to detect and deter acts which pose a threat to maritime security.