MISSION: To protect the public, the environment, and U.S. interests in support of homeland security.
Sector Saint Petersburg’s (SSP) Response Department oversees eight patrol boat crews, five Stations, the SSP Incident Management Team (IMT) and the SSP Vessel Boarding and Security Team (VBST). Response staff provides support for mission execution in four main mission areas; Search and Rescue (SAR), Ports Waterways and Coastal Security (PWCS), Marine Environmental Protection (MEP) and Law Enforcement (LE). Response staff and units work closely with the Sector Command Center, Air Station Clearwater, the CG Auxiliary as well as state, federal, and local agencies to ensure a coordinated response within Sector Saint Petersburg’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) for each mission area. SSP carries one of the heaviest maritime SAR loads in the Coast Guard handling on average three cases every day.
Common LE operations in Sector Saint Petersburg’s AOR include fisheries enforcement and anti-smuggling operations, in particular counter-drug patrols and alien migrant interdiction. Related to the PWCS mission, SSP response units perform daily Homeland Security patrols and enforce regulations outlined by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. Their vigilance ensures the safe transit of cruise ships, commercial ships, and recreational vessels throughout Tampa Bay as well as providing security for the critical infrastructure throughout the AOR. In addition, the department investigates all reports of maritime pollution within the AOR and determines MEP clean-up strategies that minimize adverse impacts on the environment.