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Press Release | June 12, 2023

Coast Guard, response agencies to conduct security exercise in Sandy Hook, New Jersey

NEW YORK — Members of the Coast Guard, along with several federal, regional, state and local law enforcement and emergency management agencies are scheduled to come together in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, Tuesday, to participate in a full-scale exercise designed to enhance coordination in conducting responses to emergent threats in the Port of New York and New Jersey, New York Harbor and surrounding ports and waterways.

Boaters may notice increased law enforcement activity near ports in New Jersey, New York and the lower tri-state area. Boaters and those with visual access to impacted waterways should be aware there are no known threats in the area and the exercise is being conducted as part of our ongoing commitment to proactive interagency engagement.

Exercise activities will be limited to specific areas and should not significantly impact marine traffic.

The primary focus of the exercise is to practice, evaluate and make recommendations for responding to emergent threats in the maritime theater.

This homeland security exercise is based on the Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program (AMSTEP). The AMSTEP is focused on building relationships within the federal maritime security domain to write, review and update the area maritime security plan, in addition to supporting other transportation entities that rely upon secure ports. As the federal maritime security coordinator, the Coast Guard has the lead in coordinating such exercises.

“The opportunity to practice homeland security capabilities in a realistic exercise is critical in ensuring that we are aligned with our indispensable partners at the local, state and federal level and bringing everyone resources to bear,” said Capt. Zeita Merchant, the Coast Guard Sector New York commander and Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey. “In my role as the federal maritime security coordinator, it is important to conduct these training and exercise programs to protect Americans, the U.S. maritime industry, commerce and the Marine Transportation System as a whole. This allows us to continue to live up to our Coast Guard motto of Semper Paratus, Always Ready!”