Security Conference will focus on the Operational Implementation of Seaport Security

Tampa, Florida- 26 October, 2012 – MacDonnell Group, a North American leader in seaport security training, today announced a conference and trade show for seaport security officials, regulators, first responders and security solution providers who have responsibility for keeping the nations seaports secure. Topics covered will include security integration, drills and exercise planning, seafarer access, planning for major events and pending MTSA regulations.

“Knowledge is a great enabler”, noted Conference Chair Ralston MacDonnell, and this event will allow seaport security professionals to exchange knowledge in an environment designed specifically for this purpose”. The conference and expo, building on six years in other North American locations, is a key resource and meeting place for seaport security professionals, operations managers, regulators, government agencies and companies providing seaport security solutions in the region.

The Westin Harbour Island near Tampa Port will be the location for this first Port Security Operations Conference and Expo in the United States. Tampa Port is Florida’s largest port and a member of the Florida Ports Council.


The 9/11 terror attacks on the United States deeply affected port operations internationally. On July 1, 2004, ports worldwide signified compliance with the International Ship and Port security (ISPS) code, and U.S. ports with the Marine Transportation Security Act, by registering port security plans in their country and becoming listed on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) List of Compliant Facilities.

Florida seaports have been dealing with regulated seaport security since before 2001. Florida Ports Council Vice President, Michael Rubin, noted, “Florida has had many changes to seaport security regulations in the past year after sections of Florida law (s. 311.12, F.S.) were repealed at the urging of the Council, causing the regulatory framework in Florida to be governed primarily by the MTSA. At the conference seaport operators will share experiences on this transition, and the procedures and plans that are being implemented based on this change.” The Florida Ports Council represents Florida’s fourteen public deep water seaports.

Since 2004, much has changed for operators. Implementation of port security plans has been successful and security is being woven into the operational activities of ports daily. Knowledge of best practices are being learned, and ways to achieve more with less cost are being discovered. However, changes continue, and nowhere is that more true than in Florida and the Gulf Ports.

The vision for the PORT SECURITY OPERATIONS CONFERENCE & EXPO was developed from the needs for professional development and technical education, especially during a time of change. The conference will be a forum for practical discussion of how to most effectively implement security in the port environment. The structure of the conference and expo will allow for delegates to be briefed on current and pending issues and regulations by government, Coast Guard and industry officials, and to share practical case studies of effective solutions being carried out in real world situations on a daily basis. Sessions on best practices will highlight the most effective methods operators have found to get the job done. The 2 day conference programme is supplemented by an exposition of leading technology and solution providers focused on US seaports.

Keynote and invited speakers include Rear Admiral James Watson, Director of Prevention Policy, United States Coast Guard, Captain Jeffery Monroe, Chairman of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee as well as leading port, terminal and security officials representing a cross section of the industry. Key Partners presently assisting in the event include Tampa Port, Florida Ports Council, Western Gulf Maritime Association, National Maritime Law Enforcement Academy, CIBER, G4S and PortStar.

Port Security Operations Conference will be held at the Westin Harbour Island Hotel in Tampa Florida.