Coast Guard Sector Juneau honored the chairman of the Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) Wednesday at Juneau Police Department headquarters.
“I am completely surprised,” honoree Andrew Greene said. “This is a real honor to have this and be recognized.”
Greene, who is also port manager for the Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska, was recognized for exemplary service to the AMSC since 2004 in coordinating key exercises to ensure governmental and industry agency readiness.
Coast Guard Sector Juneau Commander Capt. Melissa Bert presented Greene with a Gold Pan Award for service.
“Andrew has really brought a lot to the committee,” Bert said. “When he first got here it was kind of scattered on who attended and not a lot of interest in participating, but Andrew, because of his leadership, brought a lot to the committee. He really has developed our preparation for security threats, improved advisement on regulatory issues to the Coast Guard on implicating regulatory issues in Alaska. He really stepped up to the plate.”
Greene deflected praise to the Coast Guard command and staff.
“(The Coast Guard provides) the staff, the work behind the scenes, and we collaborate at the meetings,” he said. “This is their endeavor and we appreciate all they do for the maritime community. And really it is the work of the committee that makes it valuable and I may be able to have the privilege to run the meetings but really what I say is empty unless it has the validity of the folks on the committee. So I really appreciate your hard work and the work of the Coast Guard, you all make it happen. We have come a long way and the relationship between the various agencies has been effective. I really appreciate all of you.”
The AMSC consists of various federal, state and local government partners and industry representatives working to implement security standards in relation to the maritime environment.
The committee formally organized after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 in an effort to provide a coalition of supporting interests to help implement security processes with a common sense and cooperative approach.
“The implementation of the Marine Transportation Security Act Regulation is a huge issue for us to address and find out how it will work in Southeast Alaska and what that means for our port communities, for the industry, and for the different agencies involved,” Greene said. “It is a lot of work to cooperate and coordinate all of our efforts so we can provide the safest, best maritime community.”
The AMSC facilitates, solicits, and earns government-funded security grants and completes numerous joint exercises. In the last two years, Southeast Alaska entities have received more than $2 million in grants that have helped provide improved equipment that serves in various security processes ranging from surveillance vessels, fencing and camera monitoring equipment.
Greene said the various AMSC agencies practice, exercise, and become comfortable with one another in a unified command structure, which results in a positive process for difficulties that could loom on the security future.
“We are remote,” Greene said. “Our assets and resources are very limited. So we have to share what we have to provide the best preparedness and best response to something that could happen.”
Port security committees reach out to seven major southeast community maritime hubs: Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Skagway, Sitka, and Wrangell. The Area Maritime Security Plan is continually being updated.
“But the best response all together is for nothing to happen,” Greene said. “And to address what vulnerabilities there may be and that’s what this committee involved in. Knowing how to address what could happen and hopefully it never happens.”
Greene commented on citizens enjoying the maritime environment since 9/11 and the security imposed.
“Unfortunately, the reality is we are faced with a new normal as citizens for security measures,” Greene said. “As long as we do our job I think that folks will accept it as the new normal. If we slack off on our job and miss something then I think that they may question their safety. I think that right now in Southeast they can all rest assured that we are doing the best that we can to ensure safety with minimal intrusion on people and industry.”
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.