Are terrorists attacking the major Southern California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach?
No, but security officials want to be sure they are ready in case any real-life threat comes to those harbors.
The U.S. Coast Guard will preside over a multi- agency homeland security exercise Tuesday at the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach complex.
The five-hour drill, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., is designed to enhance coordination between federal, state and local agencies if there is a threat to the ports. It will be conducted near the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the Coast Guard said.
Among the agencies scheduled to participate along with the Coast Guard are the FBI, Los Angeles Port Police, the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles and Long Beach fire departments.
“Boaters and the public may notice increased law enforcement activity within the port, including helicopters in the sky, vehicles, vessels, sirens, blue lights, blank fire and flash bangs in the area,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Sondra-Kay Kneen. “Exercise activities will be limited to specific areas and should not impact commercial vessel traffic.”
The exercise is based on the Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program. Because of the drill, the Captain of the Port established a temporary safety zone near of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the Los Angeles Main Channel. It will be enforced from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kneen said.
During that time, no vessel or person is permitted to operate in the temporary safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port or her designated representative. For more information or to request such authorization, contact the Los Angeles-Long Beach command duty officer via VHF radio or at (310) 521-3801.
—City News Service