Seafarer’s Access is in the news once again and it is time to prepare.  The Coast Guard’s Office of Port and Facility Compliance recently published a Marine Safety Information Bulletin on this topic, reminding facility operators of the requirements, including key dates.

In plain language, the purpose of the Seafarer’s Access Final Rule is to ensure that waterfront facilities have a way to accommodate mariners who wish to transit through a Maritime Transportation Security Act regulated facility in order to go into town, or to return to or join the ship.  The regulation also applies to pilots, and to members of Seafarer welfare organizations, like Seaman’s Church Institute. 

Most of us who work with mariners can appreciate the need to treat our seafarers with dignity, and to find ways to improve the quality of their lives without compromising security.

The next milestone in the Seafarer’s Access program is February 3, 2020.  By that date, facility operators must have a system for accommodating Seafarer Access documented in their Facility Security Plans.  This will require an amendment to your Facility Security Plan.  Given that the Coast Guard requires facility operators to submit amendments 60 days in advance, you should be working on those procedures now.  By June 1, 2020, The facility owner or operator must implement their sytem of access.

Not sure of what, exactly, is required or how to get it to the Coast Guard for approval?  Not to worry, Seebald & Associates are here to help.  We have been incorporating Seafarer Access procedures in our audits, and submitting the necessary amendments to the Coast Guard for approval, since the Final Rule was published.  We are also incorporating Seafarer Access into Facility Security Assessments and Facility Security Plans.

We are glad to review your plan and develop an amendment that will meet Coast Guard regulations and align with your business operations.  With Seebald & Associates, you have access to experts on Seafarer’s Access – and to the finest maritime security risk experts available anywhere. 



Attention all Facility and Company Security Officers, the month of October 2019 is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM).  To help promote awareness activities, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), have co-published a Toolkit to help us all “#BeCyberSmart”.  The overarching theme for this year is “OWN IT, SECURE IT, PROTECT IT”- and will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumers devices, and e-commerce security.

The 2019 Toolkit has Top Tips to share during NCSAM; Engagement Ideas, Criteria for Hosting a NCSAM Partner Event and other useful Cybersecurity Initiatives.  In this day and time cybersecurity threats are REAL!  There are numerous incidents where maritime facilities and companies have been attacked in recent years and the damages are “catastrophic” in cost, downtime and loss of customer trust.  

To access a free copy of the NCSAM 2019 Toolkit, simply click on the link and print or download;

Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility!  Let Seebald & Associates be your partner in cybersecurity.  We work with our trusted partner, MAD Security, to provide cyber assessments, virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) functions, and 24/7/365 network monitoring, intrusion detection, vulnerability scanning, and log correlation.  Contact Cliff Neve at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 540 809 8549 for more information.  Also, be on the lookout shortly for the monthly Seebald & Associates Monthly Drill reminder for October 2019 which will focus on an element of Cybersecurity that you can conduct within your organization!  “OWN IT, SECURE IT, PROTECT IT”.

Hopefully you view your vessel or Facility Security Plan (FSP) as an important part of your overall security program.  But do you know how those plans fit into The Big Picture?  Believe it or not, you are an integral part of our nation’s overall strategy to protect critical infrastructure and our Homeland.

One step up from an individual FSP is the local Area Maritime Security Plan.  This plan, written by the Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC), helps guide the Coast Guard Captain of the Port on addressing security issues across the port area. 

AMSC’s are made up of private sector representatives as well as various government officials, so you could be a member or simply participate in AMSC meetings if you’d like to contribute beyond your own fence line or gunwale.  Check the list of AMSC contact points here, or we at S&A would be glad to introduce you to your local AMSC coordinator at any time.   

Those AMSPs feed into higher level maritime security plans, and contribute to plans and strategies at the Department of Homeland Security level.  The National Infrastructure Protection Plan (or “NIPP”) organizes critical infrastructure into various Sectors (energy, transportation, healthcare, etc.), and lays out information sharing and partnership frameworks to counter broad threats, such as terrorism, natural disasters, and cyber. 

Very recently, DHS published their Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence.  One of its goals is to Enhance U.S. Infrastructure Protections and Community Preparedness.  Outside of the Coast Guard and DHS, there are other strategies of interest.  For example, the National Cyber Strategy specifically addresses maritime cyber security. 

These plans and strategies don’t solve all of our security problems, but they do represent hard working public servants and private sector contributors working to protect our nation.  At Seebald & Associates, we are proud to work with the many patriots in the maritime industry to do our part in this worthy goal. 

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

  • 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.


The Department of Homeland Security, including the U.S. Coast Guard, use various means to notify the public about security concerns.  The Coast Guard uses MARSEC (maritime security) Levels to signify elevated threat conditions, and to require the increased security measures specified in Facility Security Plans and Vessel Security Plans.

While the Coast Guard’s MARSEC system is specific to the maritime industry, DHS’s National Terrorist Advisory System is intended for everyone, and does not carry specific requirements.  Recently, DHS revised NTAS to include three types of advisories: 

  • An NTAS “Bulletin” describes current developments or general trends regarding threats of terrorism.
  • An “Elevated Alert” warns of a credible threat against the United States that is general in both timing and potential location, and for which it is reasonable to adopt additional protective security measures.
  • An “Imminent Alert” is intended to warn of a credible, specific and impending terrorist threat or on-going attack.

The Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security coordinate closely on MARSEC and NTAS activity. 

While the thought process behind NTAS and MARSEC are very similar, an NTAS Alert will not necessarily lead to an increase in MARSEC Levels.  For example, one can imagine a credible threat scenario against a sector of our economy or area of our nation that does not include a significant maritime nexus, and therefore might not lead to a MARSEC increase.

At Seebald and Associates, we encourage our clients to be aware of both systems.  Be sure you understand your own MARSEC responsibilities and are prepared to implement them if and when required.  Also, even if the Coast Guard does not raise MARSEC, you may to decide to implement some or all of your MARSEC actions based on an NTAS alert, or any other information that you think suggests a threat to your activities and people.