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Thursday, September 20, 2001



Remember 9-11-01


Hawaii’s harbors still
open for business

As in American ports elsewhere,
Honolulu vessels are subject to
Coast Guard searches


By Gregg K. Kakesako
gkakesako@starbulletin.com

Armed U.S. Coast Guard cutters continue to patrol island waters, with officials boarding commercial vessels as they enter Honolulu Harbor, in the wake of last week's terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

But none of Hawaii's harbors have been closed since the Sept. 11 incident as has been the case in New York Harbor, where recreational boats are not allowed to enter, said Lt. Desarae Atnip.

Boston Harbor was closed Sunday while the Coast Guard swept the port and piers for bombs. The Coast Guard received two bomb threats, officials said. The closing kept two luxury ocean liners, the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Caronia, waiting outside the harbor.

Atnip said "no specific threats" have been received in Hawaii, but the Coast Guard remains at "heightened state of security."

The order to board commercial and small boats was part of a call on Sunday by Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta to activate reservist port security units in American harbors and establish security zones around Navy ships.

To avert terrorist attacks in American ports, U.S. officials established a 500-yard security zone around all Navy ships and barred other vessels from coming within 100 yards of them.

Coast Guard officials authorized the new steps to be in place for at least nine months.

In San Diego Harbor, officials have boarded and searched more than 300 vessels, two-thirds of them recreational, since the attacks, the Coast Guard said.

When Coast Guard officials board a commercial vessel here, Atnip said, "they check the identification of the crew and look for anything suspicious." Beyond that she would not elaborate on procedures used by the Coast Guard.

If a recreational vessel is boarded, it is generally for safety reasons, she added.

The Coast Guard routinely inspects commercial vessels coming into Honolulu Harbor, but at this time of increased security, Atnip said, "we have to balance commerce with national security."



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