Tough, new ferry security rules to take effect

06:28 PM PDT on Monday, June 21, 2004

From Staff and Wire Reports

SEATTLE - Vehicles will be screened by explosive-sniffing dogs and random searches before they board Washington state ferries under new security rules for ferries that go into effect on July 1.

Ferry, state patrol and Coast Guard officials called a news conference Monday at the Seattle waterfront terminal to discuss the new rules.

"Here in the Puget Sound, the Washington state ferries are a vital part of the transportation system but they are also very vulnerable," said U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Jeff Garrett.

In fact, large ferries may be the biggest terrorist target of all forms of maritime transportation.

State ferries CEO Mike Thorne and Patrol Chief Lowell Porter also asked ferry riders to report any suspicious behavior.

The first test for the ferry dogs is coming up with the Fourth of July. Porter said the dogs will be able to smell the fireworks so he's recommending that people not carry fireworks, even legal fireworks, on ferries to avoid search delays.

About 16 dogs and four dozen state troopers will be involved in the ferry searches.

The Coast Guard ordered the random searches to meet the security threat seen for Washington State Ferries.

KING 5 Reporter Bernard Choi contributed to this report.



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