September 14th, 2007 09:01 EST
Ground-Breaking Training Exercise at the Port of Laem Chabang
The Port of Laem Chabang conducted a series of day and night training mini-exercises 10-13 September 2007. These exercises culminated in a full-scale exercise on September 14, 2007. This Thai exercise is designed to increase Thailand’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to a large accident or other disasters. Protection of the Port ensures the economic stability of the Kingdom of Thailand, given that a large percentage of the nation’s exports depart via Port Laem Chabang.
The Thai National Security Council (NSC) has worked closely with the Port of Laem Chabang in bringing together 50 different agencies to participate in this event. Over the last several years, officials from the Port of Laem Chabang and Thai NSC have partnered with the state of Washington to observe large-scale multi-agency exercises at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle. This partnership has increased accident and other disaster response capabilities to protect the ships, property and personnel of the Port of Laem Chabang. The close cooperation between the Port of Laem Chabang and the Washington State National Guard is an important part of the Thailand-Washington State Partnership Program (SPP), which is dedicated to exchanging expertise on a wide range of mutually beneficial security matters. Maj Gen Timothy J. Lowenberg, who heads the Washington State National Guard and played a key role in the establishment of the ongoing relationship between Tacoma and Laem Chabang ports, is visiting Thailand to observe Friday’s full-scale exercise.
Regarding the exercise, Maj Gen Lowenberg commented, “I am extremely impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the leadership of the Port of Laem Chabang. They are effectively preparing for complex emergency response scenarios while understanding the need for interagency approaches to these emergencies. There is no way for one single agency to cope with a large incident. Agencies must train together in order to be prepared to respond together in a real-life situation. I continue to pledge my full support to our long-term, mutually beneficial partnership.” Many of the shipments leaving the Port of Laem Chabang arrive in the ports of the state of Washington, and thus the security of these critical port facilities is in the economic interest of both countries.
Representatives from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is the executive agent for the Port Security portion of the program in Thailand, also observed the exercise. Likewise, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials, who are working with their Thai port counterparts to ensure port security and container security, also observed the event.
This week’s training exercises represented a major step forward towards ensuring the security of the ships, property and personnel of Laem Chabang port. This and future exercises will enhance Thai interagency cooperation and capability to counter and respond quickly to large-scale accidents or other disasters. Thanks to the hard work of the Port of Laem Chabang and the Thai NSC, as well as the support of their friends in the state of Washington, Thailand’s largest port continues to work actively to enhance port security. The Port of Laem Chabang will continue to expand, helping secure a vital part of the Thai economy.
For press information and inquiries, please contact Khun Bussabonglahwan Pattaro at the Media and Cultural Section* of the U.S. Embassy (02-205-4418).
*Formerly known as the Public Affairs Section."