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The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) is designed to protect the nation’s ports and waterways from a terrorist attack. This law is the U.S. equivalent of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), and was fully implemented on July 1, 2004. It requires vessels and port facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop security plans that may include passenger, vehicle and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment. By creating a consistent security program for all our nation’s ports, we are better able to identify and deter threats.
However, not all vessels and port facilities are affected by the MTSA regulations. Only those sectors of the maritime industry that have a higher risk of involvement in a transportation security incident are affected by this law. For more information, see Maritime Sectors Affected by MTSA.
MTSA also required the establishment of Area Maritime Security Committees (AMSC) in all the nation’s ports. These committees coordinate the activities of all port stakeholders including the Maritime Industry, the boating public, and other federal, local and state agencies.
Each AMSC is led by the US Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) and is tasked with collaborating on plans to secure their ports so that the resources of an area can be best used to deter, prevent and respond to terror threats. AMSCs also:
In addition, the MTSA also affects certain vessels and facilities operating in or adjacent to US waterways. Only vessels and facilities specified in Parts 104, 105, and 106 of Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) are required to develop and implement security plans. Owners, operators or company security officials must submit and have security plans approved before continuing operation of their vessels or facilities.