Los Angeles Launches WMD Screening Ship

imagePhoto Courtesy of Tucker Axum III

Feb. 12, 2010
Global Security Newswire

A ship carrying equipment and personnel to screen the cargo of vessels entering the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports for materials that could be used in a weapon of mass destruction was launched earlier this week, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said (see GSN, Jan. 29).

The $3 million ship is manned by explosives experts and outfitted with WMD detection equipment. Vessels would have their cargo checked prior to coming into the United States’ most trafficked port complex, the Associated Press reported. Vessels undergo additional screening once they arrive at the port.

The Sheriff’s Department also has a helicopter that searches for radioactive material (Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Feb. 10).

"The port complex is one of the most critical infrastructures in the United States," said Jack Ewell, who oversees the project for the Sheriff’s Department, CBS News reported.

keep reading on Global Security Newswire »

See also: Long Beach Port Gets Superhero-Like Security Upgrades »

They sound like tools used in a superhero movie: a $3 million high tech boat, a radiation-detecting helicopter, and a chemical weapons-sniffing dog named Johnny Ringo. But this real-life crime fighting combination is part of Long Beach port’s newest arsenal in the war against terrorists.

The 55-foot screening vessel is "the first of its kind in the world," according to a Sheriff’s department statement, while the dog is the only one of its kind in the nation.

The $3 million screening vessel acquired by the Sheriff’s Department using Homeland Security funds carries "the most advanced technology currently available to protect the region," said Jack Ewell, who is in charge of the project for the Sheriff’s Department.

Officials Announce New Port Security Measures »
Long Beach Press-Telegram / Feb 10, 2010‎