The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), in collaboration with the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), conducted a mandatory Seaport Simulation Exercise at the Castries Seaport on May 25, 2022.
What seemed to have been the average day at Port Castries was greeted by the anxious warnings of a bomb alert.
Though dramatized, the exercise depicted a critical incident with the ability to impact port operations. More so, it tested the response capabilities of the agencies involved.
The simulation exercise is in keeping with the International Maritime regulations of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS).
ISPS is an essential maritime regulation for ships, ports, cargo, and crew safety and security.
As a member state of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Saint Lucia is mandated through the ISPS to conduct a Security Emergency Simulation Exercise every 18 months.
However due to the impact and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the activity came two years after the Seaport’s last simulation exercise held on October 11, 2019.
Deputy Chief of Port Police, Michael Placide, addressed the urgency of the exercise for SLASPA and Saint Lucia by extension.
“Today, SLASPA carried out a full-scale simulation exercise that involved two triggers impacting cargo activity. The aim was to activate and test the evacuation plans and examine the response and resource availability of agencies involved to respond to these triggers.”
He further stated that “the main objective of the full-scale simulation exercise was to ensure that through practice, SLASPA and the relevant agencies are always in a state of preparedness to respond to an emergency should and when it occurs.
The simulation tested coordinated responses by the various agencies and presented an opportunity for those agencies to practice protocols, determine strengths and weaknesses, and recommend necessary action in the future.