US, Australia Conduct Security Training Exercise In Samoa

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Effort aimed at coordinating response to port security threats

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, March 23, 2013) – Officers from the United States Coast Guard as well as Australia’s Department of Transport were in Apia this week.

They conducted a joint port security training and a table top exercise with local government and maritime security stakeholders.

Present at the training were 39 Samoan participants, representing the Ministry of Works, Transport, and Infrastructure, Samoa Ports Authority, the Ministry of Police, Samoa Shipping Corporation, and the Fire and Emergency Services Association.

The training and exercise presented a unique opportunity for the various agencies, working with the U.S. and Australian governments, to coordinate potential responses to port security threats in the South Pacific region.

The training focused on helping Samoa strengthen its sector wide incident response capabilities and improving coordination with neighbouring governments.

The event culminated in an incident response exercise that included joint collaboration with U.S. port officials in neighbouring American Samoa.

"We were very pleased with the opportunity to share this experience with the Port of Pago Pago," said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Chad Berbert, "the connections between the two Samoas are significant and this exercise was a chance to strengthen security cooperation between both our countries to ensure continued success in the movement of both passengers and goods between the islands."

At the close of the exercise U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Liaison Officer Adam Olson summed things up by saying, "It is critical that all countries work together as the port security of one country is largely dependent on the security of surrounding countries. It has been a pleasure to work with MWTI and SPA as they understand this concept and I commend them on their high port security standards."

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