2001 Maritime
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October 1, 2001

Coast Guard beefs up port security

This Coast Guard photograph by PA2 Tom Sperduto shows a Coast Guard Port Security Unit speeding to question a recreational vessel on the Hudson River recently

The Coast Guard has been stepping up port security following the September 11 outrage.

More than 100 men and women attached to U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit (PSU) 308 completed ten days of intensive combat and weapons training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., last Thursday as U.S. forces continue to prepare for possible deployment overseas.

“In light of the recent attacks, this kind of training is more critical to our mission readiness than it has ever been before,” said PSU 308 commanding officer Cdr. Ronald Davis. “We’re well trained and highly motivated to respond to any deployment overseas in support of our other Armed Forces.”

PSU 308, based in Gulfport, Miss., is one of six specially trained Coast Guard PSUs located throughout the nation. Two PSUs, PSU 307 from St. Petersburg, Fla., and PSU 305 from Fort Eustis, Va., were deployed within the United States, to New York and Boston, for provide port security for the first time in history after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon Sept. 11.

Last week, Port Security Unit 311, a Coast Guard reserve unit based in San Pedro, Calif., has been ordered to active duty to provide harbor defense and maritime force protection in support of the Department of Defense.

Although none of the Coast Guard’s Port Security Units have received orders to deploy overseas, all six have been put on alert.

Earlier this year, two PSUs were deployed to Southwest Asia for a combined total of six months following the bombing of the USS COLE.

The training conducted this week by PSU 308 had been scheduled for several months and is designed to prepare these unique Coast Guard units with the skills and training needed to deploy overseas. The last three days of training included around-the-clock exercises which included boat raids on the harbor by heavily armed opposing forces, sniper attacks on the base camp and waterborne security patrols and escorts of U.S. and allied vessels.

“We’ve really put PSU 308 to the test these last three days,” said Cdr. Fred White, commanding officer of the PSU Training Detachment at Camp Lejeune. “We’ve thrown everything we have at them, and they are ready to go – wherever and whenever they are needed.”

Coast Guard Port Security Units conduct operations in conjunction with U.S. Navy Harbor Defense Commands, Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Units, Explosive Ordnance Disposal detachments and other U.S. or allied forces overseas. PSUs are specially trained to provide port security and harbor defense for U.S. and allied naval ships deployed overseas. They can deploy within 96 hours of notification and are capable of providing limited operations within a secure port within 24 hours.

Each PSU is composed of 140 selected reservists and five active duty Coast Guard members.

Because of the unit’s “go anywhere, fast” mission, members of PSUs must meet high standards for physical and medical readiness. For example, PSU members are required to have a comprehensive series of inoculations soon after they join the unit.

BP orders fourth "Alaska Class" tanker from NASSCO
BP has placed an order for a fourth, state-of-the-art, double-hull oil tanker for use in delivering Alaska North Slope crude oil to refineries on the U.S. West Coast. BP placed orders for three tankers in September 2000.

Design work is under way, and construction of the 1.3-million-barrel-capacity tankers will begin in early 2002. National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) of San Diego is scheduled to deliver the first ship in late 2003 with subsequent ships being delivered in 2004, 2005 and 2006. BP will complete conversion of its Alaska fleet to double hulls in 2006.

The four-ship order, with options for two additional tankers, has been matched to BP’s Alaskan production plans for the next decade.

In addition to double hulls, BP’s new Alaska Class tankers will be built with redundant propulsion and steering systems which include twin diesel-electric power systems in segregated engine rooms, twin propellers and twin rudders. Use of diesel-electric propulsion systems will also reduce air emissions at sea and in port while reducing maintenance down time. To eliminate accidental oil leaks, the propeller shafts will be cooled and lubricated with seawater instead of lubricating oil. Cargo piping will be installed in the cargo tanks, instead of on deck, to reduce the risk of small spills. The ships will be fitted with state-of-the-art machinery and cargo control systems and an integrated navigation system.

The Alaska Class" design will allow maximum flexibility for oil deliveries to West Coast ports, including BP refineries in Los Angeles and Cherry Point, WA.

The newbuild project will keep an estimated 1,000 NASSCO workers employed over the life of the contract. Design development and construction will be supervised by BP Shipping Limited.

The ships will be operated by Alaska Tanker Co. of Portland, OR, which was formed in 1999. The Alaska Tanker Company operates BP chartered tankers used in the Alaska North Slope trade.

BP operates 12 Alaska oil fields with gross production of approximately 800,000 barrels of oil per day. BP is also the leading gasoline retailer in the five western states of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and Nevada. The company has more than 1,700 ARCO retail outlets

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