Rimouski - In July and August, Maritime Innovation, the centre for applied research in maritime technology of the Institut maritime du Québec, took part in an important maritime security exercise in New York involving various related American agencies. The exercise, called Trojan Horse, was initiated by the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College, a partner with Maritime Innovation and the Institut maritime du Québec in marine security. It consisted in creating a scene where a terrorist action would occur from a passenger ship. It aimed at validating the safety plans and collecting data to set standards and meet with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and ensuing domestic regulations. Maritime Innovation was the only Canadian organization involved in the exercise.
This Trojan Horse four-day exercise was the opportunity to verify various aspects of the security plans both in the port facility of SUNY Maritime College and the training vessel T/S EMPIRE STATE V. The latter was also a familiarization set for various American agencies likely to lead operations on board vessels. All the participants were able to get familiar with new technologies aiming to improve marine security.
Note that since 2004, all port facilities and maritime companies are annually subjected to such an exercise but no standard as to its contents and management exists. The Trojan Horse project is a first for defining such standards. The recommendations made after the exercise should lead to better training plans and improved marine security measures.
The Trojan Horse project follows the agreements between the SUNY Maritime College, the Institut maritime du Québec and Maritime Innovation, whose aim is notably to create a North-American Marine Security Centre (CSM). This partnership also shows how relevant the creation of a centre covering all the North-American territory is, that will ensure an improved streamlined trade between Canada, the USA and Mexico.
“In addition to its area of research in security, the CSM could also provide the marine companies with safety exercises adapted to their needs and tailored type which would meet with the various current regulations” says Jacques Paquin, Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Innovation. Such a Trojan Horse exercise requires several months of preparation. The harbours, port facilities and maritime companies do not always have the expertise, resources and time to prepare, realise and assess such exercises.
Created in 2001, Maritime Innovation is an applied research centre in marine technologies stemming from the desire of the Institut maritime du Québec (IMQ) to offer technological solutions to the challenges the marine sector faces. Acknowledged by the Québec government as a Collegial Technology Transfer Centre (CCTT), it is a member of the Transtech network. With 26 employees, its mission is to foster the growth of the maritime sector, encourage excellence through innovation and be recognized as an expertise center for applied solutions to operational problems in the maritime sector.