The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report identifying gaps in the Coast Guard’s security inspection policies and procedures at offshore facilities regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) as well as at deepwater ports.
For instance, the GAO found that though Coast Guard guidance indicates it should conduct security inspections at Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) facilities annually, the agency only conducted annual inspections at approximately one-third of these facilities from 2008 to 2010. Additionally, while the Coast Guard has taken actions to ensure the security of deepwater ports, including developing and reviewing security plans for these sites, Coast Guard guidance does not call for annual security inspections at these sites. The GAO learned that the Coast Guard had in fact only conducted one security inspection at a deepwater port from 2008 to 2010.
The GAO found that the Coast Guard’s database for storing inspection data has certain limitations that make it difficult to analyze whether required inspections were conducted. It recommends that the Coast Guard make adjustments to ensure that the information entered into its database is more useful and that the Coast Guard develops specific policies and/or guidance to ensure that annual security inspections are conducted at these locations.