RealNews

U.S./Mexico border security tightened

Security was tight Friday in ports along the Gulf of Mexico and at crossing points along the U.S.-Mexico border in the wake of the war against Iraq. A box mysteriously left at the foot of a bridge over the Houston Ship Channel precipitated an incident Friday that was indicative of the heightened state of alert. It turned out the box reported by a tugboat captain contained a dead cat but the Coast Guard praised the captain for his alertness. “This is a great example of exactly what we have been asking the maritime community to do,” said Coast Guard spokesman Rob Wyman. The Fred Hartman Bridge and the ship channel that serves the nation’s sixth busiest port were closed for about an hour while officials checked the box. The dead cat turned out to be somebody’s family pet. The Port of Houston has closed public tours for the first time in decades because of concerns that a terrorist might take advantage of the public access. The port usually offers one or two tours a day, five days a week. The Coast Guard has increased patrols at all Gulf ports, escorting cruise ships and ferries, placing sea marshals on high profile vessels, and enforcing security zones around important structures, according to the 8th District Headquarters in New Orleans, which supervises 15,490 miles of coastline. Full Story

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