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February 2, 2004

Palm Beach to use private sector waterborne security patrols

The Executive Director of the Port of Palm Beach, Richard Wainio, reports that Palm Beach will one of the first ports in the U.S. to demonstrate a private-sector approach to waterborne security patrols.

SeaWolf Security Group, Inc. of Ft. Lauderdale will be conducting a pilot program that will patrol the port's harbor and waterways using a variety of purpose-designed security boats and specially trained security operators. Leading maritime security specialist SeaSecure LLC is managing the pilot program.

"The recent elevation of the nation's security level to Condition Orange coincided with an increase in the Maritime Security Level to MARSEC 2," explained Mike Fletcher, President of SeaWolf. "With this increase came recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security that ports increase waterside security with an eye to preventing attacks, such as those committed by al-Qaeda against the USS Cole and the French oil tanker Limburg. SeaWolf is unique in having both specially-configured security vessels and trained experts to provide seaports with protection from a sea attack."

The U.S. Coast Guard has encouraged ports to provide in-water security to protect shipping. When there are cruise ships in port, such patrols become mandatory. They are usually performed by either local law enforcement or the cruise ships, which deploy lifeboats to enforce stand-off requirements set by the Coast Guard.

The Palm Beach pilot program seeks to demonstrate a cost-effective adjunct to law enforcement that could be employed during periods of heightened concern. The organizers will offer media briefings between February 13 – 15, including limited in-water observation sessions.

"The Port of Palm Beach is proud to be the first port to assist in this pilot program," said Wainio. "We look forward to working with SeaWolf, the US Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies to evaluate this very important pilot program. The findings of this effort will potentially see application throughout the US port system, as the industry strives to meet the compliance requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002."

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