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The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has announced the launch of the first single, whole-of-government mechanism to provide ship operators, maritime industry associations, vessel masters, and other stakeholders with information regarding identified threats in the maritime domain. MARAD states that the new U.S. Maritime Advisory System represents the most significant update to the issuance of U.S. government maritime security alerts and advisories since 1939 and involves cooperation between the departments of State, Transportation, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, the intelligence community, and the Global Maritime Operational Threat Response Coordination Center.
The U.S. Maritime Advisory System will replace three other instruments: special warnings to mariners issued by the State Department’s Office of Transportation Policy, MARAD advisories, and global maritime security-focused marine safety information bulletins generated by the Coast Guard. The system will issue two types of communications: U.S. maritime alerts and U.S. maritime advisories. The maritime alert is a new tool that has been developed to expeditiously provide basic information (location, incident type, and date/time) on reported maritime security threats and may be issued to refute unsubstantiated claims. A maritime advisory may follow the issuance of an alert and is intended to provide more detailed information, which may include policy or recommendations for specific courses of action. Alerts and advisories will normally be transmitted by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, emailed to U.S. maritime industry stakeholders, and posted here.