Skip to comments.Boat owners say they were fearful during Coast Guard search
Posted on 09/22/2005 2:42:37 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Two of the Moss Landing Harbor residents who were the subjects of random boat searches during Labor Day Weekend say their experiences were closer to armed invasions than the friendly "safety inspections" characterized by U.S. Coast Guard officials.
Both residents said search crews entered the harbor in inflatable boats with machine guns mounted on their bows. Then, carrying M-16 rifles, they approached residents and boarded and searched their boats in the name of safety and "homeland security."
One resident, who asked not to be identified for fear or retribution, said his experience was "very intimidating, very frightening."
"To me it reeks of Nazi Germany and the death squads in Argentina," he said. "I don't want my name on their list."
Scott Jones, a live-aboard resident who was searched, said there has been talk in the harbor about contacting the American Civil Liberties Union, but he first wants to hear further from the Coast Guard about its future intentions.
Lt. Mark Warren of the Monterey Coast Guard Station said he has heard mostly positive response to the operation, but may rethink future actions given current criticisms.
"We take lessons and learn from these types of operations. If the public is genuinely distasteful of it, we might not do it," he said. "I'm not saying we won't, but I'm not saying we will."
In addition to trying to ensure the safety of boats on the bay during the holiday weekend, Warren said, the operation was part of an effort to increase the public's awareness of the Coast Guard's role as a law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. He said the public might have been surprised to see weaponry that is now standard issue to all Homeland Security forces.
"I, as a U.S. citizen, am highly offended by that," said Jones, who is accustomed to Coast Guard boardings when he sails. "When a sheriff's deputy drives down the road or a CHP officer drives down the road and I see them, I'm aware of his job, and not because he's pulled me over and put a gun to my head.
"The Coast Guard's needs would be better served by an advertising campaign," he said, "rather than bullying people in their bedrooms at 10:30 at night."
Jones said he and his wife were sleeping when they were awakened by knocking on the side of the boat.
He went to the deck and was confronted by two armed officers asking if they could come aboard. Thinking something had happened in the harbor that the officers needed to talk to him about, Jones acquiesced.
"It seemed a little unreasonable at 10:30 at night," he said, "but it was the middle of the night and I was half asleep, so I said 'OK.' At this point, I looked out and saw six to eight officers (on the dock) and all appeared armed."
The officers boarded his boat and quickly spread out beyond the immediate deck without invitation, saying they were conducting a safety inspection.
"I can say with all certainly that what they did was not a safety inspection or in any way related to a safety inspection," he said. The officers demanded access to the bilge, saying they wanted to make sure the boat wasn't taking on water.
"This was highly suspect," Jones said. "If you're on board, you'd know if you were taking on water."
When Jones showed them the bilge, the officers repeatedly, and with increasing forcefulness, demanded to know if there were other accesses to the bilge. They also "demanded" the driver's licenses of everyone on board.
Increasingly upset by the nature of the search, Jones asked for the officers' authority and justification. One officer read to him from a federal code authorizing the search.
"It was either the Patriot Act or homeland security,"Jones said.
Warren said the officers would not have cited the Patriot Act because it affords the Coast Guard no additional authority.
Jones conceded he may have heard "homeland security" and registered "Patriot Act," but still feels the search was unwarranted and in a gray area of the law at best.
"I wouldn't question their professionalism, but I do question their motive and their authority," he said. "To me, it sounds like something that an ACLU lawyer would just tear apart."
Coast Guard officials say they are authorized by maritime law to board and search vessels on U.S. waters, including waters that lead to U.S. waters, to enforce federal laws.
Warren said the officers were attempting to ensure the safety and compliance of docked boats by checking for oily water in their bilges and that their sanitation devices were in locked position. Some searches were conducted at night in an effort to catch boats before they went onto the bay for the weekend.
The second boat owner who spoke to The Herald said his boat was searched after he challenged officers who were searching other boats, at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 2, and during the morning on following days. Told they were acting as Homeland Security officers, he asked what they were protecting the harbor from.
"Terrorists," he said he was told by the officers, who exhorted him to "remember the Cole," referring to the October 2000 attack by terrorists on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.
"The only terrorists down here are you guys," he told them. "You're scaring the hell out of me with that machine gun."
While Warren was noncommittal about future searches, he said it is important for the public to know the Coast Guard's presence will be increased.
"The Coast Guard's focus on homeland security has increased our presence on the water and will continue to increase our presence simply because that's what Congress is wanting us to do right now," he said. "The concern at the congressional level about the security of ports is pretty high."
"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security"
My point is, that the laws of the Sea have ALWAYS been different all through all of human history.
The basis for this search by the US Coastguard is in conformity to US law and the traditional laws and customs of the Sea.
Mariners know and understand these traditions, lubbers, usually, do not.
I do agree, (having had my "Old F@rt" card validated long ago), that change does usually seem for the worse.
"Believe me I anxiously await that report and continue to hold out hope that this be proven false.
Our CG nor or citizens should be abused in this manner. Our CG is about search and rescue and saving lives...and yes I know they engage the enemy as well, but those folks harbored at that marina were not our enemy, they are us.
We will see."
"and you vague quotation of someone 99% of the human race has never heard of "
Sometimes I forget where I am and with whom I am conversing.
However, your ignorance is no excuse for your behavior.
so what the hell is YOUR excuse?
"Lets wait to pass judgement until AFTER the Coast Guard investigation, and believe me, there will be one."
I sure hope there will be an investigation. But I am not as optimistic as you. From the CG:
"Since September 11, 2001 the Coast Guard has:
Created Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSSTs) federal maritime SWAT teams highly trained, strategically located, and specially equipped to provide an extra layer of security to key ports, waterways and facilities. Established Special Missions Training Center at Camp Lejeune, N.C. to train new MSSTs and other CG commands in port security."
Federal swat teams all pumped up and ready for action with no particular place to go....well except safe and friendly public harbors to roust boating families in the middle of the night?
For the sake of argument tonk, what if the article is true? In your opinion what actions if any should be taken?
"For the sake of argument tonk, what if the article is true? In your opinion what actions if any should be taken?"
I'm not going to "guess" until AFTER the investigation
IF one is called for.
Your basis that the media is right is flawed.
Wait for the follow up story AND investigation,
if the actual facts call for one.
I've worked on base for nearly 4 years now.
I've seen just about the whole crew rotate to new duty stations.
The "openigs" for the port security teams are few and far between.
It's not a matter who wants to go, it's based upon the need at that time.
As I said I'm onboard, both commercial and recreational boats, doing inspections in 3 different ports.
Personally I think the "media" prints what they want us to believe.
I have actual 1st hand experience with Coast Guard crews AND the commercial and recreational boating public.
It's been very, very, few times that I've heard the public "complain" about the Coast Guard.
My 1st year was as a watchstander in the radio room on base.
Watchstanders also answer phones for the base.
In that time I handled 2 "irate" callers, out of hundreds.
The people in the "article" reminded me of the 2 "irate" callers.
Lets wait to pass judgement until AFTER the Coast Guard investigation, and believe me, there will be one.
Jeff Foxworthy "Quote" - No sir it is not illigeal to tow a boat behind you vehicle , it is however required you put it on a trailer.
Coast Guard Continues Hurricane Rita Response- Military.com- Sept. 29, 2005
ST. LOUIS - More than 4,000 Coast Guardsmen continue to save lives and assess the damage to waterways, aids to navigation, the environment and maritime transportation system infrastructure in the wake of Hurricane Rita.
To date, the Coast Guard has rescued 120 people imperiled by flood waters and has medically evacuated two others from hospitals in the hurricane-impacted area. Coast Guard rescuers continue to work closely with local and state officials as well as the Department of Defense, to determine the number of people in need of rescue and to ensure help is delivered as swiftly as possible.
Two Disaster Response Units (DRUs) were dispatched to the Lake Livingston, Texas, area while three more DRUs were deployed to Port Arthur, Texas, to aid in relief efforts. DRUs are equipped with flood punts that are able to navigate through flooded areas to rescue people and assist in recovery efforts.
Waterways assessment continues today as the Coast Guard works with the maritime industry to safely restore commerce. In Texas, the ports and waterways of Houston, Galveston, Freeport, Texas City, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Victoria Barge Canal and Port of Orange remain closed to vessel traffic, while the ports and waterways of Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Port Lavaca are open.
In Louisiana the ports and waterways of Sabine Pass, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Morgan City, Fourchon, Houma, New Orleans, Venice, Plaquemines, St. Bernard Parish, Grand Isle and Port of Shreveport remain closed. The Lower Mississippi River is open however deep draft vessels are limited to daylight operations only below Head of Passes (mile marker 0.0). The Red River and Atchafalya River are now open.
Facility and vessel operators are reminded to check for updated port and waterway information via Coast Guard Broadcast Notice to Mariners and Marine Safety Information Bulletins, as port conditions continue to be updated.
Several barge breakaway incidents were reported in conjunction with Hurricane Rita including one in which barges reportedly allided with the I-10 bridge in Port Arthur and came to rest against the West Lake Railroad Bridge. Damage to the bridges was being assessed at release time.
Among the reports of damaged vessels are:
A Cameron Ferry assist tug sinking at the Bulk Terminal #4 at Port Aggregates.
Of the 38 Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs) reported in the path of Hurricane Rita, eight are reported adrift.
Assessments to critical infrastructure continue but preliminary reports indicate major refineries in the area suffered only minor damage. Of the 819 manned oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, 745 remain evacuated.
At this time, no major pollution incidents have been reported as a result of damage from Hurricane Rita. The Coast Guard received a report of approximately 24 oiled birds in Calhoun County, Texas. The source of the oil was attributed to runoff from streets where vehicles were caught in floodwaters.
The Coast Guard has received143, 96-hour, advanced notices of arrival for vessels calling on ports in the Houston and Galveston areas of responsibility. At this time there are no delays associated with these vessel arrivals as a result of Hurricane Rita.
The Coast Guard is working in concert with the maritime industry, state and local officials, U.S. Navy, Minerals Management Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the oil and gas exploration and production industry to open waterways and facilitate maritime commerce as soon as safely possible.
Heroics from Hurricane Katrina- Military.com- Sept. 29, 2005
New Orleans - U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 4th Division Vice Captain Mike Howell did not have a lot of choices if he were to save his home and Auxiliary Facility, Mañana. Hurricane Katrina was fast approaching, and Mañana, a 53' steel-hulled former Federal Conservation boat, could only do eight to ten knots with its single diesel engine.
Any thoughts of a flight up the Mississippi were quickly dismissed. Going in to the river, Howell later recalled, "I would have been squished like a bug" (by the larger ships being tossed around by the hurricane).
With some old stout lines that given to him by the skipper of the CG Cutter Bonito, Howell secured Mañana to pilings and concrete structures in the open water of the Municipal Yacht Harbor, some 500 meters from Coast Guard Station New Orleans.
Secure in her moorings, the 53-ton facility and her skipper saw yacht after yacht break moorings, with many ricocheting off the facility's sturdy steel sides. Mañana remained unmoved, and her skipper chronicled the fury of the storm from the deck with his camera.
The formerVietnam War helicopter door gunner was not about to be defeated by Mother Nature. And in the days ahead, he and Mañana would make a vital difference to many, and be introduced by Sector New Orleans Coast Guard Commander, Captain Frank Paskewich, to Admiral Thomas Collins, Coast Guard Commandant, as "Our Local Hero".
As Katrina's winds abated, Howell threaded Mañana through the harbor to Station New Orleans. The badly damaged station was without electricity for a time and without potable water. It had been flooded with six to seven feet of water during the storm, but its main concrete structure remained intact.
With the exception of minor cosmetic damage, including some bent one-inch steel rails, Mañana was unscathed from her brush with Katrina. The boat's generator was quickly able to provide the Station with essential power, her radios with communications, and her 2,000 gallon potable water tank with badly needed water. Station New Orleans was back in business.
When Howell arrived at Station New Orleans, he was met by a skeleton crew left behind to safeguard the facility. Gradually active duty personnel, having secured their families from harm's way, trickled in and began the process of righting the station and preparing for the thousands of rescues they would make in the ensuing days.
In the midst of it all, Mañana was their oasis - a haven where they could wash off grime, secure fresh uniforms and take a momentary respite. From the boat's satellite dish, the watch at the Operations Center could catch the news and weary rescuers could take their minds off what they had been seeing in the city by watching a football game on satellite television.
As Tuesday morning dawned, other Auxiliarists began arriving at Station New Orleans to assist.
From Flotilla 4-10 (Baton Rouge, LA) seven members: Auxiliarists Tom McKinstry, Tim Borskey, Terry Mills, Cleve Chandler, Lenny Cappel, Charles Dupuy and Steve Guillory responded, bringing with them two Auxiliary Facilities.
With the sporadic gunfire and other violence in the city, Auxiliary patrols were limited to the waterfront, but there were many other ways the Auxiliarists assisted at a station that was beginning to swell with Coast Guard manpower.
With communications a major challenge for operations, Auxiliarists from several flotillas in the Division 4 pooled their resources and got underway with trucks and a camper. Gerald Schneider, Lenny Kappel, Mike Baker and Bill Wellemeyer traveled to the Leeville High Site and got it operational. They also brought a generator to the Leeville site and helped the U.S. Customs unit there get powered.
For ten days, Auxiliarists Jim Umberger and Bill Wellemeyer worked long hours at the relocated Sector New Orleans Command Post in Alexandria, LA, with Umberger working twelve hour night shifts.
Back at Station New Orleans, Auxiliarist Ed Jackson had arrived on Friday with his Jeep towing his Facility.
Speaking of his passage into the city, Jackson noted that he had to jump a levee with his jeep and boat in tow to make it into the Station. Seeing a need for more potable water, he contacted his son-in-law, the manager of a trucking company, and managed to get 6,000 gallon truckloads of potable water delivered daily to the Station.
With an estimated 400 personnel at the station by then, the truckloads of water could not have started coming at a better time.
Auxiliarist Rand Henke shared with those at Station New Orleans the health dangers of the post-hurricane environment and set up sanitary and hand washing stations and decontamination sites at Station New Orleans.
Auxiliarists Gerald Schneider, Bill Pritchard and Erston and Karen Reisch ran numerous "errands" for Station New Orleans, freeing other personnel for more important tasks.
Auxiliarists C.F. Adams and Mike Brady also assisted as needed.
While all this was happening, Auxiliarists Mike Baker, Bob Hazey, John Buie and Francis Guillory, among others, flew patrols over the Mississippi River, doing verifications of Aids to Navigation and looking for oil and fuel spills. They also transported essential personnel as needed.
Auxiliarist Doug Depp set up a rescue station on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, on the Tchefuente River.
Even some who were trapped in their neighborhoods assisted. Auxiliarist Don Diven, unable to get out of his area due to fallen trees, kept a sharp eye on his immediate vicinity from his bicycle.
"I knew Auxiliarists were a special group of people, but I was surprised to discover just how selfless these volunteers really are," said LCDR Jeff Carter, Coast Guard Branch Chief for media relations. "The Coast Guard is richer by their association and so am I."
"However, your ignorance is no excuse for your behavior."
So what is your excuse for calling the Coast Guard 'gestapo warriors' in post 575?
Might I remind you that a certain idiot named Nov3 was saying the same thing recently and he got the zot.
Taken, you might want to recant your slam of the Coast Guard.
"Anyone planning on buying a boat?"
Perhaps a small submarine armed with torpedo's would be an appropriate vessel. How good do you suppose these jackboots float...
It's looking more and more like this was the real deal.
Exactly which report are we to await? In this article Lt Warren addresses the angry boaters. How can all this be made up by the Herald?
"So what is your excuse for calling the Coast Guard 'gestapo warriors' in post 575?"
If you could read and comprehend (and it's obvious that you can't,) I called people who would support this kind of activity gestapo warriors.
"Lt. Todd Warren, who ordered the search, told the audience that the boarding was part of a five-day exercise. The Coast Guard also boarded fishing and recreational vessels in Monterey Bay and boats in Monterey and Santa Cruz harbors."
What part of exercise don't you understand.
The public knew, before hand.
Why did the "media" "forget" to mention this part of the story???
The media in WA ran this story.
COAST GUARD, STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES CONDUCT MARINE TERRORISM RESPONSE EXERCISE IN PUGET SOUND
SEATTLE - Smoke billows from the Evergreen State ferry in Elliot Bay as a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolpin helicopter from Coast Guard Group/Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., hovers during a drill to test the Puget Sound's Marine Terrorism Response plan that's designed to help emergency agencies work together in a multi-attack terrorist disaster.
Perhaps you should look at this "high crime" harbor in question.
"Our CG is about search and rescue and saving lives.."
MSST Miami hands over reigns in Cuba
Port Security Unit 311, from Long Beach, Calif., assumed responsibility for the Coast Guard's mission at the Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba in a ceremony June 8. PSU 311 takes over for the departing Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami.
Brigadier General Jay Hood, the Joint Task Force commanding officer, presided over the ceremony in which authority was passed from MSST Miami commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Mercado to PSU 311 commanding officer Cdr. Barney Moreland.
PSU 311 stood up a 54-member detachment in May 2005 in preparation for deployment to GTMO. The team conducted pre-requisite training, deployment physicals, and began honing their skills for the intense and highly scrutinized mission in GTMO.
As part of Naval Base GTMO, PSU 311 is on the front lines in the battle for regional security and protection from drug trafficking and terrorism, ensures U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships can operate in the Caribbean safely.
Naval base GTMO, which became host to the Detainee Mission of the war on terrorism following 9/11, is the oldest US base outside of the continental United States. Futhermore, PSU will provide escorts to distinguished vistors, international media, and human rights groups that are transiting to and from the Naval Base.
You're still trying to excuse your behavior.
You were never in uniform anywhere.
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