Commemoration of the Sept. 11th Terrorist Attacks
We pause at this time to recognize the sacrifice of the victims of the Sept. 11th attacks. Our deepest sympathy goes out to their families, loved ones, and to the survivors. We appreciate the public’s support, understanding and assistance as the Coast Guard works to keep the nation’s ports and waterways safe and secure.
We have made changes, refocused our efforts, and developed new tools and policies, but we already had many of the skills, authorities, systems and response plans and brave, dedicated men and women to immediately raise the level of security to protect the American people. As America’s premier multi-mission, military, maritime agency, Homeland Security and Search and Rescue are, and have been, our top priorities.
Continued performance of all our missions – from Security and SAR to anti-drug and illegal migrant patrols to fisheries enforcement and aids to navigation – keeps our men and women and our organization active, alert, and always ready while providing much needed services and security to the American people.
In the past year the Coast Guard has:
· Created Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSSTs) – federal maritime SWAT teams – highly trained, strategically located, and specially equipped to provide an extra layer of security to key ports, waterways and facilities. First four deployed this year: Seattle; Los Angeles, Houston/Galveston, and Chesapeake, VA. Six more planned. Established Special Missions Training Center at Camp Lejeune, N.C. to train new MSSTs and other CG commands in port security.
· Boarded and inspected over 10,000 ships to search for threats and confirm the identity of those aboard.
· Developed special “Sea Marshal” boarding procedures where Coast Guard law enforcement officers remain onboard certain ships as they enter and leave ports to ensure they stay safely on course.
· Escorted cruise ships in and out of port and enforced 100-yard “no sail” Security Zones around them.
· Established a new, centralized National Vessel Movement Center and required foreign ships
to provide a 96-hour advance notice of arrival plus more information about the ship, cargo, and all people on board – information that is shared with other intelligence and law enforcement agencies to detect threats.
· Established and enforced Naval Protection Zones around all naval vessels. Penalties include forfeiture of vessel, 6 years in prison and $250,000 fine.
· Enforced over 100 Security Zones around sensitive maritime areas and facilities.
· Used the pollution and hazardous materials expertise of the of Coast Guard’s National Strike (NSF) to prepare for and respond to bio terrorism response and weapons of mass destruction.
· NSF Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Strike teams assisted with WTC response, cleanup of Anthrax attacks in Florida and Washington, and were part of joint agency teams on standby at Superbowl Olympic Games.
· Worked to “push our borders out” to detect threats before they reach our shores. Strengthened our relationships with federal, state, local and international agencies to share information and coordinate security operation.
· Launched a nationwide Port Security Assessment program to review and improve security in 55 key ports and waterways.
· Partnered with mariners and boaters to help keep waterways safe and secure by asking them to be more careful about their own activities on the water, and to be more aware of and report unusual and suspicious activity.
· Maintained the highest level of alert and continued the largest port security effort since WWII.
· Submitted wide range of U.S. security-related proposals to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to improve security of ships and cargo worldwide, leading U.S. initiative to make global transportation system more secure.
· Launched the first phase of a long-term $17-billion program to build the next generation of Coast Guard ships and aircraft, communications and logistics systems and began some immediate system upgrades that will enable the Coast Guard to perform their essential maritime safety and security missions. Years in the planning and known as the “Deepwater” program because of its focus on larger ships and planes capable of operating far offshore, the contract will strengthen the front line of the Coast Guard's layered homeland security strategy.
· Begun procuring 46 new port security boats around country to enhance patrol and response capabilities of most vital ports.
· Coast Guard Captains of the Port (COTPs) have joined Dept. of Justice Anti-Terrorism Task Forces.
· Coast Guard continues to exercise operational control of 13 U.S. Navy special operations command Patrol Boats for Homeland Security duties, with Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments and U.S. Navy crews aboard.
In addition to Homeland Security duties the Coast Guard has continued performing it’s wide range of emergency response, regulatory, and public safety duties.
Since Sept. 11th Coast Guard men and women have:
· Responded to over 31,500 Search and Rescue cases;
· Saved over 3,200 lives;
· Assisted over 39,000 people in distress;
· Seized 111,903 lbs of cocaine, 37,024 lbs of marijuana;
· Interdicted over 3,500 illegal migrants;
· Responded to 4,000 oil and chemical spills;
· Conducted approx. 11,000 Port State Control (PSC) boardings of foreign flagged vessels (annual average);
· Certified the qualifications of merchant ship officers and crew and issued 36,473 merchant mariner licenses; 30,678 Merchant Mariner Documents
and 26,443 mariner training certificates (STCW);
· Conducted 6,500 marine safety accident investigations;
· Increased safety patrols by the civilian volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary.
The coastline is our longest border and we will remain vigilant. (95,000-mile coast includes Great Lakes and inland waterways.)
Approx. 10,000 vessels enter the US each year and make approx. 68,000 port calls.
Coast Guard remains at a heightened state of alert at over 361 major ports.
Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agents continue to serve as Air Marshals in support of the DOT and FAA. (they are the only military personnel allowed to participate in Air Marshal program).
Over 2,700 Reservists were recalled to active duty· Port Security Units remain on duty in Guantanamo Bay Cuba providing security to JTF 160 at the U.S. Naval Base.
95 percent of our annual commerce comes by ships through our ports. Maritime industries contribute $742 billion per year to U.S. Gross National Product.