A day-long exercise on September 28 tested the ability of APL, the Port of Seattle , the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Seattle police and fire departments to mesh their efforts to respond to a terrorist threat. The drill was part of APL’s continuing program to improve its port and vessel security by coordinating with public agencies.
The exercise took place at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5, which is operated by APL subsidiary Eagle Marine Services. The test, which simulated an emergency in which a bomb threat was telephoned to the terminal, also involved the vessel APL Coral. During the test, the security level at the terminal was elevated from Maritime Security (“MARSEC”) 1 to MARSEC 3--the highest possible level. A key element of the drill was the rapid setup of an “integrated command structure” involving APL, the Port of Seattle and local and federal response agencies.
“This was an excellent test of our ability to mobilize first-response agencies to an emergency at the port,” said Arif Ghouse, director of seaport security for the Port of Seattle. “Without these kinds of tests it’s hard to know what our strengths and weaknesses are and how we can improve our capabilities. There’s no doubt that this exercise has improved or ability to respond to a real emergency.”