AMAG Symmetry helps Virgin Islands port authority meet standards

AMAG Symmetry helps Virgin Islands port authority meet standards
The United States Virgin Islands is a vacation destination for people around the world. Located south of Florida, the islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are packed year round with tourists looking for fun in the sun. Tourism is 80 percent of the islands gross domestic product and employment, and because the islands are located far from the mainland US, all goods are shipped via boat or plane, making the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) an agency that touches everyone.

The VIPA controls two airports and 11 seaport facilities on the three islands, all which require different federally mandated security requirements to ensure the safety of employees and tourists. To meet the diverse requirements, the Port Authority contacted Transportation Technology Associates, formerly Transportation Security Associates to help them find a security management system that will control access, meet TWIC requirements at the seaport facilities that require it, and secure the two airports, which must meet separate federal aviation regulations. The enterprise system needed to operate across the three islands.

Transportation Technology Associates, Managing Partner, Jeff Brown and his team worked on the project in three phases. First, they conducted a cost analysis for the deployment of the equipment. Second, they completed the design and specification process and assisted the Port throughout the bid process. After reviewing a comparative analysis between their current legacy system and AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Enterprise Security Management system, VIPA selected Symmetry. Lastly, they assisted with the construction and administration of the project and ensured that the contractors built the system to the specifications that were published.

Six port facilities located throughout the three islands were the driving force behind the implementation of this project. Symmetry is used as a maritime access control system integrated with the Transportation Workers Identity Credential (TWIC) to verify badging those who need to access multiple marine facilities on the three islands.

TWICs are required for those seeking unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and Coast Guard credentialed vessels. Symmetry supports TWIC access control clearance. “Individuals who need to access our ports must swipe in to the Symmetry system with the TWIC to show they are authorized to be there,” said Virgin Islands Port Authority, Project Manager, Jeff Lawlor.

Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix and Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, are the hubs for the Symmetry system and each contains a Security Operations Center and Symmetry head-end. While the airports had an older system previously installed, VIPA elected to upgrade both to Symmetry because there was no extra cost to do so. Installing integrator, G4S Technology, was able to integrate Symmetry with the airport’s existing readers. Symmetry was installed at the two airports and at the six maritime facilities that required TWIC. The other five maritime facilities did not require TWIC and employees only need to show a badge to a security officer to enter.

Symmetry was installed at the two airports and at the six maritime facilities that required TWIC. The other five maritime facilities did not require TWIC and employees only need to show a badge to a security officer to enter.

“It was a sizeable project in that it was diverse and spanned a great distance, yet were inter-connected and worked together,” said Brown. “The idea was that all the transactions would be tied back to the airports because that is where their current Security Operations Centers are for the aviation side.” During the night, data is shared bilaterally so if one hub fails, the data is backed-up and available in the future.

Two VIPA cruise port facilities were required to meet TWIC access control standards, as the government considers a cruising terminal critical due to the potential for loss of life. The remaining four ports are cargo facilities, which are critical for importing goods and consumables from the US and other locations.


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