Thought some West Coast folks would find this article interesting ... I always joke about the "view" in San Pedro of the cargo containers. Now they sound like they may be worrisome.
Report: Poor Security at Calif. Port
.c The Associated Press
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Harbor officials paint a bleak picture of security at one of the nation's largest ports, with no efficient system to screen some cargo containers and other lapses that make the port vulnerable to a possible terrorist attack, a newspaper has reported.
The Orange County Register reported Sunday that port officials are worried about containers being delivered to port by tractor-trailer rigs that have been susceptible to possible terrorist infiltration.
Other problems include a shortage of police patrols and surveillance cameras, hazardous chemicals stored above ground and the lack of a system for providing evacuation information.
The vulnerabilities at the Port of Long Beach are in an 84-page grant request submitted to the federal government in March. The newspaper obtained a copy of the port's grant request under the California Public Records Act.
City officials concede the grant request relied on worst-case scenarios at the port, which handles 43 percent of the nation's container cargo traffic.
Long Beach port officials sought more than $70 million in federal security funds and received roughly $6 million. An additional $125 million in port security grants was approved by Congress this month, but transportation officials are still deciding where to distribute the money.
Los Angeles and Long Beach port officials are most concerned about the 4.5 million metal cargo containers that arrive each year on freighter ships.
Customs officers examine records of each of the ships to determine its origin, and they check the cargo and crew for anything unusual. But only 2 percent of the containers are selected for physical inspection.
``We are concerned that there will be a destructive device in a container that will disrupt the entire port,'' said Vera Adams, port director for the U.S. Customs office at the Los Angeles/Long Beach ports. ``That will stop everything in its tracks all over the world.''