Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Security Farce: Holes in Maritime Security

The following was mailed to me from a friend who recently had to deal with the Coast Guard in port:

I recently had the Coast guard come aboard and do a surprise security inspection. I got scolded for not checking their ID and checking their bags, and we did not have all vessel access points locked up like fort Knox. We just happened to be at a fairly nice area with a lot of recreational craft around and I asked the Coast Guard personnel, pointing to a small sailboat fifty feet from the vessel “what that was?” He said “A sail boat” So I asked him, “what is up with that?” Why are you busting my balls for not checking your ID when the dock checks your ID, is fenced in, has security barriers, security cameras, and security guards. Do you think that me checking your ID is going to make a bit of difference? Why would someone go though all the trouble to do us harm when anyone with three brain cells could figure out that you would just have to be on that sailboat to get close? Not to mention that all attacks on vessels in recent history have been water born attacks, the USS Cole, that French tanker in the Middle East. He just looked at me with a blank look on his face, and soon left.

I guess I just get fired up when they put all these security measures in place that limits our freedom. I am not even allowed to walk down the dock and get a newspaper in my own country, and then I am asked to play this game of checking IDs and the sort, when I can see clearly that they have all security on one side of the dock and nothing on the other side. All at the expense of us Mariners.
My take on all this security insanity:

The Coast Guard is not looking at all aspects of maritime security- and the most irritating part is that they are overlooking the obvious. There is absolutely no security in the marinas and small vessels are not being policed. It is really apparent when you are navigating out of large cities like San Francisco, or when pulling out of the mouth of the Columbia. Trying to get past buoy #10 on the Columbia River is a nightmare, small vessels darting directly under your bow. All you can do is pray that you do not run them over. The Coast Guard does not see this as a problem? What is going to happen when the terrorists catch on to this? They will go rent a small boat, load it up with explosives, and drive it straight into the first tanker they find.

I have a feeling it will take a maritime disaster of this magnitude to wake the Coast Guard 'Officer Elite' up to the reality of maritime security. There are too many Coast Guard desk-jockeys deciding what is best for the Merchant Marine community. If they spent more time conning a vessel and less time writing flawed policy- perhaps our security situation would be a little better.


Anonymous said...

The Coast Guard is pretty weak... they should stick to inspecting little grannies on dinghys.

Seriously- they have no clue what is going on and it is going to hurt when the terrorists get a clue.

Sometimes I wonder how stupid the rest of the world is...

I sit there thinking-- If I were a terrorist I would do _________ to blow up a ship...

Then I think- If I were a Coast Guard Officer I would do __________ to prevent this from happening.

Do they not think of this??? What the hell.

I am not putting my email on this.... they will probably track me down for saying 'terrorist.'

Anonymous said...

What a dumbass... he probably saw the guy on discovery channel telling his story about being trapped by a boulder and cutting off his own arm. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

Im sure he could've gotten away without amputating body parts

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Nandkishore gitte

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