Coast Guard, Customs, TSA conduct security operation at Ga. ports

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SAVANNAH, Ga.) — Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and Transportation Security Administration personnel are coordinating a multi-agency strike force operation at the Georgia ports of Savannah and Brunswick Thursday.

Combined with personnel from the National Cargo Bureau, CBP's Laboratory Science Services component, Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, Federal Rail Administration and Motor Carrier Compliance and Safety, this team will capitalize upon each agency's respective inspection and enforcement authorities to ensure regulatory compliance for intermodal shipments through the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick.

Special emphasis is placed on the inspection of international hazardous material shipments, focusing on proper hazard packaging and loading of those materials, while ensuring compliance with the International Convention for Safe Containers.

The combined benefits to both the local communities and the regulatory agencies are a reinforced emphasis on the safety of containerized shipments and the conveyances used to move the average 8,020 twenty-foot equivalent units per day transiting through local communities; improved communication and partnerships between federal agencies and industry experts with overlapping regulatory missions; and increased security for access onto regulated facilities with an emphasis on verification of the TSA-issued Transportation Workers Identification Credentials.

Thursday’s operation is a culmination of partnerships that were established in 2007 with the formation of the Maritime Interagency Center for Operations in Savannah. Those partnerships between the Department of Justice, CBP, USCG, TSA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and 23 other federal, state, and local agencies were established to increase information sharing and cooperation within the region.

"Over the past five years this community-driven effort built the foundation for this operation and others like it, helping to increase safety in our communities and bringing together law enforcement, emergency management, first responders and local universities – hundreds of personnel working towards a common goal," said Lt. Marvin Kimmel, chief of response for Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Savannah. "The strengthening of these cooperative partnerships enhances our overall awareness and assists in the development of uniform compliance and enforcement standards."

By Professional Mariner Staff