BAR HARBOR — State and federal protection agencies came together here last Thursday for a training exercise to prepare for potential security threats at sea.
The Maine Maritime Security Team, which includes the Maine Marine Patrol, the Maine State Police Tactical Team and the U.S. Coast Guard, practiced responding to various scenarios, including a hostage situation, an active shooter and an improvised explosive device carried by a ship’s passenger.
In one exercise, Marine Patrol and Coast Guard vessels transported members of the Maine State Police Tactical Team to Friendship V, which is operated by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company.
“This exercise was conducted repeatedly to allow all team members to practice boarding a passenger vessel during a threat scenario while fully outfitted with personal protective equipment and weapons,” said Marine Patrol Pilot Steve Ingram.
“This required precision by boat operators who had to deliver Tactical Team members safely to the passenger vessel and hold the bow of the boat against the larger vessel while team members boarded over the side.”
An exercise conducted at the town dock involved responses to different types of threats that might arise during a passenger ship boarding.
“This kind of training is critical because it brings together the agencies that would respond to a maritime security threat and allows them to run through different scenarios and learn how to work as a coordinated team,” Ingram said. “This level of coordination is a key to our national security.”
The Maine Maritime Security Team was established following the 9/11 terror attacks, when state and federal agencies recognized the need to be better prepared to respond to maritime threats.