Port Tampa Bay Earns First in the Country Security Accrediation

Port Tampa Bay
Port Tampa Bay

Published May 28, 2023 5:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Port Tampa Bay]

The National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy (NMLEA) announced today that Port Tampa Bay, located in Tampa Bay, Florida, became the first port in the country to become Accredited through the NMLEA’s Maritime Security Accreditation and Digitization Program (MARSEC ADaPt). 

Established in 2022 through the efforts of the NMLEA’s Maritime Security Accreditation Working Group, (a collaborative group of maritime stakeholders from the private, public, academic, and research sectors) the MARSEC ADaPt process looks at a set of standards created to measure a Port’s “ADaPtiveness.”  

“With the goal of leading the Nation’s port security community into the digital age while directly enhancing the Nation’s maritime and cybersecurity posture, the program looks at a port’s DOMAIN,” said Mark DuPont, the NMLEA’s Executive Director. He went on to explain that the word “DOMAIN” symbolized specific areas of focus and assessment in the Accreditation process: Creation of a Digital three dimensional model of the port, Optimal use of digital resources (for things like vulnerability assessment training and exercises), Maturity of its cybersecurity efforts, Academic Advancement programs and training in place for its workforce, Intelligence and Information sharing in alignment with the National Maritime Enhanced Engagement Initiative, and Navigation abilities - using all of the DOMAIN resources in real world events. He added, “If a port does not have all of these tools, we provide them through our Accreditation Alliance Partners like ARES Security Corp (for creating the Digital Twin and supplying the AVERT Assessment tool), and HudsonCyber (supplying the PortLogix cybersecurity tool.)” 

“Demonstrating outstanding adaptability, resiliency, and a collaborative ‘continuous improvement’ culture throughout the organization, we are pleased to Accredit Port Tampa Bay – and so happy that they are the Nation’s first to implement this program and “ADaPt” their DOMAIN,” said DuPont. “By meeting and exceeding the standards set forth to elevate and enhance the safety and security of America’s maritime transportation system, Port Tampa Bay’s employees, the customers that they serve, and the United States Coast Guard can be assured that this organization, its security personnel, and its overall operations within our maritime homeland security framework are an exceptional example of enhanced maritime security within the digital age.” 

Upon the announcement of the Accreditation, Paul Anderson, the Port’s President and CEO had this comment: “Port Tampa Bay strives to be a leader in security, safety and resiliency. I could not think of a better way to prove our commitment to our highest priorities than achieving accreditation through the Maritime Security Accreditation and Digitization Program. . We believe in this process and the increased level of professionalism it will bring to our industry, for both public and private entities.”  

To learn more about the Maritime Security Accreditation and Digitization Program (MARSEC ADaPt), go to www.nmlea.org/marsec-accreditation.  

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