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February 4, 2004

USCG has received 90 percent of required security plans

The U.S. Coast Guard said today that 90 percent of vessels and port facilities had now turned in security plans as required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act.

Penalties are being issued to those that have not submitted any of the information required.

"Security in America's ports is a shared responsibility," said Rear Adm. Larry Hereth, director of port security for the Coast Guard. "We have made tremendous progress protecting the ports, and we need everyone to continue that progress by meeting these requirements."

Though most have complied, the Coast Guard will be aggressively pursuing those who did not, and has begun issuing notices of violation with a $10,000 penalty.

The names of specific vessel and facilities that have received a notice has been designated Sensitive Security Information and will not be released to the public.

The act requires the development and implementation of security plans for vessels and facilities that have a higher risk of involvement in a transportation security incident. The act also mandates that all affected vessels and facilities be in compliance by July 1, and timely security plan submission is a key milestone in reaching that goal.

Under the act, large cargo and passenger vessels, port facilities, outer continental shelf facilities, and others in the maritime industry were required to submit a vulnerability assessment report and a security plan. Additional civil penalties for failing to submit the security plan may be issued at a later date, and non-compliant operators may have their operation shut down after July 1, if an approved security plan is not in place.

The Coast Guard has established a Help Desk to assist industry with understanding the regulations. The Help Desk can be reached from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday at (202) 366-9991, toll-free at (877) 687-2243 or, or by e-mail at uscgregs@comdt.uscg.mil . The full text of the rules and other information can be found on the Coast Guard's Help Desk website at:

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/mp/mtsa.shtml.


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