As reported in numerous media accounts, coordinated drone strikes have caused extensive damage to crude oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia. 

Seebald & Associates has no reason to believe that similar attacks are planned against U.S. oil facilities.  Any such warning would come from the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, or Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Nonetheless, there are actions U.S. maritime facilities can take to better prepare for attacks in the United States, should they occur.

  • Ensure your personnel are alert for drone activity near your facility or vessel.  Report any drone sightings to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802, and to your local Coast Guard Captain of the Port.  Terrorists are known to conduct surveillance and to rehearse planned attacks.  Reporting enables law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take prompt action, potentially interrupting or stopping a planned attack. 

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) describes drones as “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (UAS).  For information on FAA rules pertaining to UAS, visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/.

  • Review your MARSEC procedures and other contingency plans.  A drone attack could result in deaths, injuries, fire, pollution, or damage to critical infrastructure.  Well thought out contingency plans can save lives and help you return to business quickly.  S&A can help you develop contingency plans that meet your business and security needs.    

  • After reviewing your plans, conduct a drill or exercise.  If properly documented, this could count as one of your Coast Guard required drills or exercise. 

  • Review your Facility Security Assessment.  Does it consider this type of scenario, or other technology or cyber based threats?  Unfortunately, terrorists and criminal organizations now have capabilities that were previously only available to the most advanced organizations.  FSO/VSOs should work with your organization’s cyber professionals to consider and prepare for cyber-attacks, including combined physical/cyber-attacks. 

  • Build a strong security culture and remind all your personnel to be alert for suspicious activity.  An alert and well trained work force is your best defense.