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Copyright © 1995-2001 
Linda Coffman

Homeland security. . . in the ports, in the waterways, and on the ocean

Oct. 2001 - As part of Operation Noble Eagle, the Coast Guard is at a heightened state of alert protecting more than 361 ports and 95,000 miles of coastline, America’s longest border. “The Coast Guard continues to play an integral role in maintaining the operations of our ports and waterways by providing a secure environment in which mariners and the American people can safely go about the business of living and working freely,” said RADM Thad Allen commander of the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area Command.

Some 10,000 ships make more than 68,000 port calls in the U.S. each year.

Coast Guard Takes Action to Insure 
Port of Miami Safety

9/13/01 - The Coast Guard announced Thursday that it planned to have boats escort all cruise ships and tankers in and out of the world's busiest cruise port and maintain a 100-yard security zone around the ships.

"That's the routine right now,'' Petty Officer Robert Suddarth said. "I know it was planned for this one before we knew of all this.''

Several Coast Guard cutters are patrolling off the mouth of the port as a heightened security measure in response to Tuesday's attacks, he said.

Port Everglades also increased security for a variety of cruise ships scheduled to use the Fort Lauderdale port this weekend. INS screening is planned for all passengers.

Coast Guard Re-Opens Port of New York

9/13/01 - Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port for New York and New Jersey, re-opened the ports to commercial vessel traffic today. The port has been closed to all unauthorized vessel traffic since shortly after the World Trade Towers tragedies Tuesday. "In the wake of such a tragedy it's important for us to restart our Maritime Transportation System not only for commerce, but for recovery as well," said Bennis. "It affects many lives and livelihoods throughout the Northeastern United States."

Large commercial vessels are restricted to transiting into the port through Ambrose or Sandy Hook Channels. They must also successfully meet specific safety precautions before permitted to enter port. Each vessel must:
* satisfactorily complete a Coast Guard safety inspection;
* have a certified harbor pilot on board;
* be under the escort of two authorized escort tugs; and
* confirm that the vessel's berth is ready to receive the ship.

Additionally, vessels may anchor only if they intend to lighten their load in order to enter a berth and with Coast Guard approval.

Vessels of any kind are still prohibited from entering the area near the Battery without specific Coast Guard consent. This area is defined as north of Governors Island, south of the Holland Tunnel ventilators on the Hudson River and south of the Manhattan Bridge on the East River.

"I have ordered these safety precautions to not only ensure port integrity, but to also provide for the safe passage of each merchant vessel and every sailor," said Bennis.

The Captain of the Port has also permitted passenger ferry commuters to resume operations between all ferry slips within the port with the exception of ferry slips on Manhattan south of 14th Street. Each commuter vessel must have uniformed police officers on board.

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