Behind the scenes look at Coast Guard port security

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NEW HAVEN --  On Wednesday, FOX61 got a first-hand look at port security in Connecticut, in the wake of recent terror attacks in London.

New Haven's port sees vessels coming in daily carrying commodities such as oil, gasoline, steel and salt.

"We are the largest port for oil coming in to this southern region of New England," said Capt. Andrew Tucci of the Coast Guard.

There is a Coast Guard-approved security plan for every vessel, ferry and port terminal in New Haven, New London and Bridgeport. There is also a port-wide security plan for the entire Long Island Sound, created in conjunction with federal agencies including the FBI.

"We review and approve them [the plans], and then we go and conduct inspections from time to time to make sure they're meeting the plans," said Capt. Tucci.

All ships entering port require approval 96 hours prior to arrival, and must provide specific information to the Coast Guard.

"Who's on board, their cargo, last port of call and so forth," said Capt. Tucci. "We check and vet all that information."

The Coast Guard also conducts regular ship inspections.

"Our crew will go on and board those vessels, go through them from the engine room to the bridge to make sure that ship is safe, environmentally sound and secure," said Capt. Tucci.

Every port facility must conduct one large security exercise per year, plus several smaller drills. Ferries in Bridgeport and New London face daily security checks, as well as occasional active-shooter drills.

Since 2013, the Coast Guard has also been seriously looking at cybersecurity threats. Those threats could potentially target a ship's electronic navigation system or Wifi-enabled cameras that monitor the perimeter of oil terminals.

"It's a relatively new area for us," said Capt. Tucci of cybersecurity.

Capt. Tucci says Coast Guard patrols are out every day on Connecticut's waters. The public is also encouraged to report any suspicious or unusual activity by calling the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.