The Tampa Port Authority (TPA) is proud to announce that the port and some of its key partners have been awarded a federal grant of nearly $2.6 million for security-related, collaborative initiatives.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) recently announced the final FY 2011 grant allocations for a variety of grants that are used to increase preparedness in the event of terrorist acts or natural disasters. Of particular importance to the port community are the seaport security grants that focus on the maritime security and preparedness.

In the recent allocation of funds, the Tampa Bay area received $2,576,493—more funding than any other single port area in the state of Florida.  These allocations are divided among a number of recipients that share in maritime security responsibilities, including other port authorities, law enforcement and terminal operators.  The TPA received the largest allotment of these funds ($1,168,000), and will use them to significantly improve current security systems and expansion of security capabilities.  These allocations bring total security grant awards to the TPA to nearly $4 million dollars since FY 2007.

Anticipated program upgrades include technology to process Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs), radio upgrades to the Vessel Tracking System (VTS), installation of low light cameras, storm hardening for security facilities, security upgrades to cruise terminals, and increased surveillance capabilities to protect against chemical releases.  In addition, the TPA will benefit from enhanced emergency response and maritime law enforcement response capabilities that resulted from port grant awards to the Tampa Police Department and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are elated that port security is being recognized as a top priority at the federal level,” Richard Wainio, Tampa’s port director and chief executive, said.  “We are very thankful for this grant funding and eager to put it to good use and to continuing to work with our major law enforcement, safety and security community in keeping the Port of Tampa a safe and productive economic engine.”