Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine by CDR Adam Shaw, U.S. Coast Guard International Port Security Program Activities Europe.
The primary mission for an international port security liaison officer (IPSLO) is to assess the anti-terrorism measures implemented at foreign ports by reviewing their security practices, increasing international awareness of maritime security, and championing best practices to improve maritime governance.
Achieving Compliance, Cooperation, Coordination
In addition, one of the liaison officer’s most important objectives is developing relationships to build trust. IPSLOs are required to make regular visits to the countries in their portfolios. These visits allow the officer to ensure the ports are maintaining effective security measures as defined by the International Ship and Port Facility Security code and to develop relationships with their in-country counterparts.
In many cases, the only exposure a foreign government will ever have with the U.S. Coast Guard is through the international port security liaison officer. During a port security visit, it is not uncommon for an IPSLO to field a wide range of questions regarding port state control detentions, boarding officer training, small boat procurement, search and rescue doctrine, response to marine environmental pollution, and more.
An IPSLO’s most critical skills involve effective cross-cultural communications, diplomacy, and the ability to get a wide range of agencies to work together in support of a common goal. The success of the International Port Security program has garnered the U.S. Coast Guard a unique role in global maritime security and has allowed us to develop strong diplomatic ties with our international maritime trading partners.
Photo Caption: At left, CDR Adam Shaw, USCG international port security liaison officer, greets the president of Benin, Thomas Yayi Boni, at the presidential palace in Benin, Africa. Also in attendance is the U.S. ambassador to Benin, Gayleatha Brown, and LCDR Robert Keith, USCG international port security liaison officer.
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Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/summer2009.
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