Maritime Security Exercise Conducted at Port of Brownsville

The United States Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, alongside the Port of Brownsville and other federal, state and local agencies, conducted an Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program (AMSTEP) table-top exercise in Brownsville on July 12.

This exercise, held at Keppel AmFELS facilities, brought together over 20 federal, state, and local law enforcement and emergency management partner agencies in addition to regulated oil, natural gas, and chemical facilities to test the South Texas Area Maritime Security Plan and assess the response to security incidents.

“This exercise is very important because it brings all of us together at the local, state, and federal levels to talk about processes and procedures on how to elevate maritime security levels,” said Captain Tony Hahn, Sector Commander of Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi.

“We had incredible participation from all of our Brownsville partners, and the work that the planning staff put in ensuring we had a very fruitful exercise. This will only help us in the future if we have to raise the maritime security level,” he continued.

AMSTEP is a community-based anti-terrorism exercise program that was created to address the exercise requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. AMSTEP focuses on the preparedness for external, community-based, anti-terrorism measures covered by the South Texas Area Maritime Security Plan.

Participating agencies included U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Cameron County Sheriff, Cameron County Office of Emergency Management,  Brownsville Police Department, City of Brownsville Office of Emergency Management, Port of Brownsville, Willacy County Sheriff, Willacy County Office of Emergency Management, Port Isabel-San Benito Navigation District, Port of Harlingen, Maverick Terminals, Pilot Terminals, Citgo, Keppel AmFELS, Space-X, Transportation Security Administration, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

From left to right: Port of Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia, Police Lt. Mario Esquivel, HMO Operations Supervisor Martin Medrano, and Harbor Master Mike Davis listen to a presentation during the AMSTEP exercise held July 12 at Keppel AmFELS.