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Mike Whitehead

THE HARBOR COLUMN --

September 13, 2001

A sad ahoy.

A very tragic, cowardly attack happened back East on Tuesday,

affecting thousands and thousands of people. It happened there, but how

secure is our harbor? Sure, San Onofre, South Coast Plaza and Newport

Center might be a blip on a terrorist's radar screen, but can Newport

Harbor be the next target?

Newport Harbor is the largest small-craft harbor in the world, with

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more than 9,000 boats surrounded by multimillion-dollar homes. Some of

the area's residents are involved in world affairs, politically or

economically, or both, yet this area seems a placid target, in my view.

The Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Department and the Coast Guard

provide immediate harbor and coastal security. The Harbor Department is

the front-line defense for Orange County's harbors, and Capt. Marty

Kasules said the department has increased staffing and patrols, and is

positioning a patrol boat at Newport Beach's jetty entrance for some time

period.

Knowing Kasules personally, I have the utmost respect for his

leadership in times such as these to protect our harbor, and with the aid

of the Newport Beach Police Department, any situation that might arise

will be adequately resolved.

The next line of defense for Newport Harbor and the first line for the

ocean is the Coast Guard. Stationed in Newport Beach is Lt. John Kidwell,

commanding officer, and Chuck Lindsey, executive officer. Both officers

stated that, with their new cutter the Narwhal now in town, they are all

manned up and ready to go. On Tuesday, they were on Def-Con Delta status

waiting for orders from Coast Guard Group Los Angeles-Long Beach. Now the

ship is patrolling the Long Beach Harbor area, which could be a target.

Kidwell told me the people of Newport Beach are safe in his and his

crew's hands. I know this crew, and they will perform more than 100% of

what is required to protect our harbor and coastline.

Then I spoke with Dan West, owner of Naut-a-Care Marine Services in

Newport Beach, who is a chief as a special warfare combat crewman

assigned to the Navy SEAL Team in charge of boat operations. I asked him

about the threat to Newport Harbor from terrorism, and he believes it is

not a major threat in Newport Beach, but if it were the government would

move more resources into our area for protection.

However, Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors have major concerns, and

both harbors are under high security with all ships receiving a security

escort out of the harbor to the anchorage areas. Also, West reports that

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