Vessel security zone implemented - Washington State ferries considered "soft targets"



SEATTLE, WA- In the days following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, security in the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca tightened immediately. That security is now being kicked up a notch with a new vessel security zone of 100 yards.

Washington State ferries are now considered "soft targets," which means possible targets for terrorism.

“We’re pretty vulnerable out here,” said ferry passenger David Zeh of Allyn. “If something happened, if it sunk, it’s pretty cold water and it’s a long ways to shore.”

The new vessel security zone has brought some comfort to passengers. Boaters must give large vessels a distance of 100 yards.

"The security zone is for passengers vessels more than 100 feet in length. That would include ferries, some of the Argosy boats, the Coho out of Port Angeles, cruise ships, once the season starts also,” said Lt. Scott Casad, U.S. Coast Guard.

There's no specific intelligence regarding a maritime threat, but this is a security level higher than the days that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Back then, only military vessels and oil tankers were protected.

"I think it's realistic anywhere. Things are so volatile, the situation so volatile with people overseas and everything that’s going on it’s really hard to tell where they’re going to hit or if they’re going to to hit,” said Tacoma resident York Davis.

The new vessel security zone is mandatory, but the Coast Guard is also asking things of boaters. They want boaters to avoid commercial port operations. They also don’t want boaters to stop near or underneath bridges.

Finally, they ask that boaters remain vigilant.


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