Maritime Security Training Event Brings Multiple Agencies to Bar Harbor

Maritime Security Training

Members of the Maine State Police Tactical Team board the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company’s boat Friendship V from a Maine Marine Patrol Protector vessel during maritime security training last week in Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor – The Maine Maritime Security Team, including the Maine Marine Patrol, Maine State Police Tactical Team, and the US Coast Guard, took part in a training exercise Thursday, May 10 in Bar Habor to prepare for potential security threats at-sea.

Different scenarios, including a hostage situation, an active shooter, and an improvised explosive device carried by a passenger were the basis of the day’s training exercise.

“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,” said Marine Patrol Pilot Steve Ingram, who coordinated the training event for Marine Patrol.

The morning exercise involved both Marine Patrol and US Coast Guard vessels serving as platforms for delivering members of the Maine State Police Tactical Team as they boarded the Friendship V operated by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company.

“This exercise was conducted repeatedly to allow all State Police Tactical Team members to practice boarding a passenger vessel during a threat scenario while fully equipped with personal protective equipment and weapons,” said Ingram.

“This exercise 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. It also provided Tactical Team members a chance to build familiarity with the different platforms that would be used to deliver them to a maritime incident," said Ingram.

While the morning exercise was conducted at the dock, the afternoon exercise was done in the Harbor to simulate a boarding while underway and involved different threat scenarios. “These scenarios gave team members a chance to not only practice boarding while underway, but to work on response to a variety of possible threat situations,” said Ingram.

“The Marine Patrol and the US Coast Guard have the assets and expertise to deliver highly trained members of the Tactical Team to threats that might occur at sea,” said Ingram. “This level of coordination among agencies is a key to our national security.”

The Maritime Security Team was established through a memorandum of agreement between the State of Maine and the US Coast Guard after 911 when state and federal agencies saw a need for greater preparedness to respond to maritime threats. Training such as the Bar Harbor event is conducted to ensure coordination among federal and state partners.