Port Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay, Florida, has become the first port in the country to achieve accreditation from the National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy (NMLEA) through the Maritime Security Accreditation and Digitization Program (MARSEC ADaPt). The MARSEC ADaPt protocol was established in 2022 and developed by NMLEA’s Maritime Security Accreditation Working Group, a coalition of maritime stakeholders from the private, public, academic, and research sectors. The program is designed to measure a port’s “ADaPtiveness” by examining a set of standards.
To become accredited, a port must demonstrate its ability to assess and adapt to changing security and cybersecurity threats, build a three-dimensional digital model of the port, use digital resources effectively, develop cybersecurity measures, pursue training and academic advancement programs for its workforce, share intelligence and information in collaboration with other maritime stakeholders, and navigate actual events using resources from the aforementioned categories. Any tools or resources that a port lacks are provided by Accreditation Alliance Partners such as ARES Security Corp and HudsonCyber.
Port Tampa Bay met and exceeded the program’s standards to achieve accreditation. The port’s security personnel demonstrated tremendous adaptability, resilience, and a culture focused on continuous improvement. The accreditation provides assurance that the port’s operations and security personnel are part of an exceptional example of enhanced maritime security within the digital age, enhancing and elevating the safety and security of America’s maritime transportation system.
In response to the announcement, Paul Anderson, the Port’s President and CEO, stated that Port Tampa Bay strives to be an industry leader in security, safety, and resiliency. The achievement of accreditation through the Maritime Security Accreditation and Digitization Program illustrates the organization’s commitment to these priorities. Port Tampa Bay believes that the process will bring a heightened level of professionalism to the industry, benefiting both public and private entities. Those interested in learning more about the MARSEC ADaPt program can visit www.nmlea.org/marsec-accreditation.
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