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Cruise Ship Terror Drills

The news regarding cruise ship terror drills is shocking. In September and October of 2011, two terror drills have occurred in Florida as well as a Coast Guard pyrotechnics drill right off the Florida coast. If a cruise ship terror attack were to take place, Florida would be the optimal location due to its massive number of cruise ships.

Cruise Ship Terror Drills 
Date: September 24, 2011
Name: 
Unknown 
Agencies: 
Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Panama City Area Maritime Security Committee
Location: Panama City, Florida
Notes: 
Drill simulated global, regional and local terrorism threat scenarios that could potentially impact the port community

Title:
 Coast Guard And Panama City To Conduct Area Maritime Security Exercise
Date: September 24, 2011
Source: Coast Guard News 

Abstract: Members from Coast Guard Sector Mobile and the Panama City Area Maritime Security Committee will conduct an exercise that will focus on maritime transportation security awareness and terrorism prevention. During the tabletop exercise, participants will conduct global, regional and local terrorism threat scenarios that could potentially impact the port community.

“Safety and security in the Port of Panama City is a team effort, with players from all levels of government, community leaders, and private businesses,” said Capt. Don Rose, commander of Sector Mobile and the federal maritime security coordinator for the Port of Panama City.

“This exercise is a chance to put the team together and practice, face-to-face, across the table, to make sure we understand each other and are operating from the same playbook” (Coast Guard News, 2011)

Cruise Ship Terror Drills 
Date: 
September 26, 2011
Name: 
Unknown 
Agencies: 
Coast Guard 
Location: Fort San Felipe Del Morro, Puerto Rico
Notes: Drill simulated pyrotechnics familiarization training.

Title: 
Coast Guard To Conduct Pyrotechnics Training In Waters Off Fort San Felipe Del Morro, Puerto Rico
Date: October 26, 2011
Source: Coast Guard News 

AbstractCoast Guard crewmembers from Boat Station San Juan are scheduled to conduct pyrotechnics familiarization training Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in waters approximately one nautical mile off Fort San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“This training exercise is an important annual requirement for our crewmembers to maintain their proficiency and knowledge in using the different type of flares, properly identifying their colors and trajectories, and recognizing the audible and visual signs of distress,” said Chief Petty Officer Eduardo Oropeza, Boat Station San Juan Executive Petty Officer.

The flare training includes introductions to the proper handling and usage of the Mark 79 Mod 0 illumination signal kit, the Mark 124 MOD 0 marine smoke and illumination signal and the Mark 127 parachute illumination signal. The Mark 79 signal kit contains a flare launching device, called a pencil launcher, and seven flares. When fired, the red star flare goes approximately 250-650 feet into the air that lasts approximately 4.5 seconds. The Mark 124 signal is a two-sided signaling device that has both a day end and a night end. The day end disperses thick neon orange smoke for approximately 20 seconds and the night end disperses a blinding red flare for the same amount of time. The Mark 127 parachute illumination signal, when fired, the white star flare goes approximately 600-650 feet into the air and lasts approximately 36 seconds. These flares can be seen from a distance of three to five miles.

Coast Guardsmen throughout the country constantly train to improve efficiency, maintain qualifications and to teach new members who may be involved in a rescue.

Mariners can tune in the VHF-Channels 16 and 22 for an informational broadcast issued by the Coast Guard regarding the exercise (Coast Guard News, 2011)

Cruise Ship Terror Drills 
Date: 
September 28, 2011
Name: 
"Operation Focused Lens East"
Agencies: 
Coast Guard and Canaveral Port Authority, etc.
Location: Port Canaveral, Florida
Notes: 
The full scale drill was designed to evaluate area maritime security operations in response to an increased threat in Port Canaveral

Title: Coast Guard And Partner Agencies To Participate In Joint Security Exercise In Port Canaveral
Date: October 24, 2011
Source: Coast Guard News 

Abstract: The Coast Guard and Canaveral Port Authority along with federal, state and local partner agencies are participating in Operation Focused Lens East, a full scale Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program designed to evaluate area maritime security operations in response to an increased threat in Port Canaveral.

The objectives of Operation Focused Lens East are designed to mitigate vulnerabilities associated with terrorist attacks and to enhance communications and response operations between federal, state, and local agencies and industry maritime stakeholders.

“We are exercising our outstanding interagency partnerships in Port Canaveral in order to increase preparedness for all types of security challenges,” said Capt. Andy Blomme, commander, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. “The Port Canaveral maritime stakeholder community can rest assured that all levels of government are working together in this endeavor.”

Participating agencies include the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Central Florida Information Exchange, Port Canaveral Police Department, Brevard County Office of Emergency Management, Brevard County Sherriff’s Office, and Cape Canaveral Fire Department (Coast Guard News, 2011).

Cruise Ship Terror Drills 
Date: 
October 26, 2012
Name: "
Operation Focused Lens East"
Agencies: 
Coast Guard and Canaveral Port Authority, etc.
Location: Port Canaveral, Florida
Notes: 
The full scale drill was designed to evaluate area maritime security operations in response to an increased threat in Port Canaveral

Title: Law Enforcement Agencies Prepare During Mock Terrorist Threat
Date: October 26, 2012
Source:
Bay News 9

Abstract: Terrorists attacking Port Canaveral is a concern and law enforcement from around the region are working to make sure they are ready to spring into action if the situation were to happen.

This week, they are simulating a terrorist threat at the port, called Operation Focused Lens East.

Officers are going through bags, cars, using police dogs to search boats and have added extra patrols on the water.

The Coast Guard, Port Canaveral Police and Fire, the Sheriff's Office, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are working to improve communication and effectiveness.

They were located at various locations around the Port Tuesday, pretending they were dealing with a terrorist threat.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Christopher Evanson said it is vital the different agencies work together.

"All relationships, all the exercise will have become such a fine tune machine that when a real emergency strikes, we would have worked together and implemented a safe and secure response for any type of terror attack at the port, Evanson said. "It will ultimately protect the people in the community."

He also encouraged members of the public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious.

They said Port Canaveral has a lot of business that come and go from this area and a terrorist could see the area as an ideal place to attack.

Members of the public might notice an increased presence of law enforcement throughout the port and participants will be evaluated.

"We are exercising our outstanding interagency partnerships in Port Canaveral in order to increase preparedness for all types of security challenges," said Capt. Andy Blomme, a commander from Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. "The Port Canaveral maritime stakeholder community can rest assured that all levels of government are working together in this endeavor" (Bay News 9, 2012)