The American Waterways Operators' (AWO) Model Vessel Security Plan for the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry has been approved by the United States Coast Guard
. AWO developed the security plan after 9/11 to protect people and property and prevent vessels from being used as weapons of mass destruction.
The Model Plan was developed in close consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by a special AWO Security Working Group
. The Plan serves as a template for company-specific procedures to prevent terrorism in the categories of Awareness, Training, Personnel Practices, Planning, and Emergency Response.
The plan lists both required and suggested actions to take, depending on the threat level, with regard to physical security, communications, and cargo. In addition, a Plan appendix categorizes nearly 100 hazardous cargoes to identify those that could be used as weapons of mass destruction.
AWO had requested Coast Guard review to have the plan approved as the industry standard under the terms of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 10-02, "Security Guidelines for Vessels." The Coast Guard has informed AWO that domestic tugboat, towboat and barge companies implementing the AWO Model Vessel Security Plan are now considered to comply with the voluntary guidance provided in the NVIC. AWO has also requested that the Coast Guard recognize the Plan as a means of compliance with the forthcoming maritime security plan regulations.
RADM Larry L. Hereth, U.S. Coast Guard Director
of Port Security, praised the AWO Plan, saying, "I commend American Waterways Operators for its efforts in establishing a model security plan that raises the security standard for a significant portion of the maritime industry." He went on to say, "I look forward to further strengthening the U.S. Coast Guard's partnership with AWO in our fight against terrorism."
AWO President Tom Allegretti commented, "We are gratified by the Coast Guard's recognition of the AWO Model Vessel Security Plan, and proud of the efforts by AWO member companies to take proactive steps to ensure the safety and security of this industry as we carry America's cargo along its 25,000 miles of inland and coastal waterways."
The AWO Model Vessel Security Plan, minus the hazardous cargo appendix, is available on the AWO Web site at www.americanwaterways.com.