Incoming boats and ships under 300 tons are being screened as part of an operation to block illegal radiation sources from entering through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a port official said today.
The detection measures used in the Maritime Chokepoint Operation can scan smaller ships such as fishing boats and recreational vessels while they are moving, which does not intrude on port operations, Port of Los Angeles Assistant Chief Mike Hillman said.
"The primary goal of this operation is to ensure no illegal radiation enters the ports of Long Beach or Los Angeles," Hillman said at an event at the Port of Los Angeles showcasing the technology.
The operation involves the Los Angeles Port Police, Long Beach Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles Police and Fire departments, Los Angeles Airport Police Orange County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Coast Guard, FBI, National Guard and Transportation Security Administration.
Funding comes via a grant from a Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office program called "Securing the Cities." The city of Los Angeles and the Long Beach urban area was awarded grant funds and can receive up to $30 million throughout the course of the program.
Larger container ships go though a separate screening process for radiation, Hillman said. All containers are screened before leaving the port, as well.
"There are a variety of different security measures we are putting in place," Hillman said. "I think when you see the operations today, you will see it's going to be what I would consider to be very difficult for an illegal radiation source to be able to come into or leave the ports of Long Beach or L.A."
--City News Service