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.''
Wow, that's great, run an article basically saying, "Hey terrorists, come here! We're open!" Scary.
My father (physicist) designed the scanning system for cargo containers at the Miami port. It's on a huge truck that just drives by them. He has neat pics of packages of marijuana stashed in the lining of refridgerated cargo containers. Heh. Hopefully this means his company will be getting some business soon in Long Beach!
My reply doesn't address the issue of security in Long Beach, but I just wanted to comment on the sheer number of containers that go in and out of there! My daughter moved from the Phoenix area to Long Beach in February, so I have been over there 3 times since then to see her, and we will be there again for Thanksgiving. Naturally, being addicted to all things cruise-related, whenever we want to go north from Long Beach, I beg her to go over to San Pedro first, and then head north on the 110. In doing so, we pass through the Port of Long Beach and then right by the cruise ship(s) in San Pedro. I got to see the Star Princess on its very first weekend in San Pedro, then again last time I was there. Anyway, Long Beach is one huge area full of containers stacked multi levels high! And it's worse right now, since the strike by the dock workers. I was last there on Oct 25-27, and not only could you see the ships just sitting there within the breakwater, waiting their turns to be unloaded, but when we took off from the Long Beach airport,we circled out about 3 miles or so over the ocean, and the water was FULL of ships just waiting to get into port. When you consider the thousands of containers than come into port each day, you do have to concede that it would be possible for something dangerous to be inside of some of them without any way to know or to detect it before it was too late. It's rather sobering.