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Sept. 11: One year after

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Globe and Boston.com coverage from September 11, 2001

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Coast Guard takes on new roles in fighting terrorism

By John Biemer, Associated Press

ABOARD THE USS TYPHOON The six men in blue uniforms strapped on bulletproof vests and loaded 9 mm Berettas. They piled into a rigid-hulled inflatable boat with two 60-horsepower engines and shoved off from a 170-foot Navy patrol cruiser.

Members of a Navy crew armed stations at machine guns, grenade launchers and a 25 mm cannon, ready to protect the Coast Guard crew on the rig, if needed, as they sped toward their target.

This isn't the Persian Gulf -- it's the Chesapeake Bay, in a scene repeated regularly by the Coast Guard as it girds for possible terrorist attacks.

The Sept. 11 attacks came by air. Federal agencies such as the Customs Service and Coast Guard have joined with state agencies to make sure a new wave does not come by sea.

Coast Guard patrols have intensified on major waterways. Police scrutinize boats anchored near major bridges. Naval vessels are given wider berths as they ply U.S. waters. Armed sea marshals board cruise ships and Coast Guard crews escort the ships safely into harbor.

At the Customs Service, drug-sniffing dogs and X-ray machines are joined by inspectors using portable radiation detectors the size of a pack of cigarettes to determine if cargo contains nuclear material. Searches begin at overseas ports before the shipments depart.

More than half the goods entering the United States arrive by oceangoing cargo containers. In 2001, the Customs Service processed more than 214,000 vessels and 5.7 million sea containers nationwide. Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida network have vowed to cripple the U.S. economy. An attack using a sea container could be devastating to global trade.

Still, customs officials can't search through everything. "It's impossible -- it would grind the U.S. economy to a halt," said Kevin Bell, a Customs Service spokesman in Washington. So they rely on a risk-based strategy to target suspicious shipments.

A cargo ship coming to a U.S. port must give notice 96 hours before arrival -- up from a pre-Sept. 11 policy of 24 hours' notice. The ship reports its cargo, its destination and its previous ports of call, as well as the names of the crew and passengers, which are entered into security databases.

Coast Guard members go offshore to board and search cargo ships that raise suspicions by nature of their cargo -- or their crew. Some ships are not permitted to dock.

"The way we're looking at it right now is we safeguard life, property and critical infrastructure at sea and in all navigable U.S. ports and waterways," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Carolyn Cihelka, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard Atlantic Area. "Whether that means responding to a terrorist threat or an urgent search and rescue case, that's our No. 1 mission."

In the days following Sept. 11, she concedes, there was a dramatic decrease in the Coast Guard's ability to conduct its traditional missions. Cutters that normally plied the Caribbean looking for drug smugglers were repositioned off the U.S. coast.

Now, the Coast Guard is learning to do it all -- with some help. For example, the USS Typhoon had recently carried Navy SEALs on missions throughout the Seven Seas. Now it's one of a dozen patrol-class vessels flying a Coast Guard flag and aiding boarding teams on both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico.

"We're stepping up our patrol to free them up to do that search and rescue," said Navy Lt. Robert Massaro, the captain of the Typhoon, as it escorts the Kara Sea -- a 608-foot tanker carrying gasoline, registered in Liberia, with a Russian crew -- into port.

Today's news:
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Mass. remembers victims
Silence, tears mark day at Logan
Under alert, Mass. carries on
Bush faces day with resolve
World remembers attacks in US
Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.
Updated wire coverage

Photo galleries:
Families mourn, remember
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Ceremony at the Pentagon
Ceremony at Pa. crash scene
Remembrances worldwide
Remembrances in Boston

NECN RealVideo:
Moment of silence observed
Ceremony at State House
Gettysburg Address read
Procession at Ground Zero
A somber travel day at Logan
Images of Sept. 11, 2001

 THE SERIES

 DAY ONE   SEPT. 3

Preparing for the worst
Security has become the new norm in Greater Boston.

 DAY TWO   SEPT. 4

Fear and children
Children's responses may shed light on human anxiety, resiliency.

 DAY THREE   SEPT. 5

Muslim minds
The US effort to win over Muslim hearts and minds is failing.

 DAY FOUR   SEPT. 6

Science vs. terrorism
New chemical, biological threats spur nation's top minds.

 DAY FIVE   SEPT. 7

Detainees
For those deported after Sept. 11, the losses are wrenching.

 DAY SIX   SEPT. 8

A special Magazine issue
A Sept. 11 narrative by former Massport chief Virginia Buckingham, plus an essay by Christopher Hitchens.

A special Arts section
How culture has changed since Sept. 11, including a gallery of art inspired by the attacks.

A special Focus section
A look at how the lives of six Americans were altered.

Everywhere USA
Terrorism comes to God's country.

 DAY SEVEN   SEPT. 9

Where is Al Qaeda?
How have bin Laden and his terrorist group eluded US forces?

 DAY EIGHT   SEPT. 10

Two cities
New York and DC one year later.

 DAY NINE   SEPT. 11

America remembers
The US looks back at the terrorist attacks.

Victims and survivors
A year later, still hurting.

A time for bells and remembrance
A clash of views on terror
Limited damage to the economy
Families build support system
NYC's healing process
Finding comfort in the kitchen
Bailey: A day of atonement


From the Associated Press:
Tribute paid with tattoos
Charities changed by 9/11
White House calls home
9/11 stole innocence, love
Man escaped earthquake, 9/11
Update on 9/11's famous faces
Firemen still burying dead
A mother's note to a lost son
9/11 created heroes in death
Voice mails bring comfort
Little things hold memories
87th floor survivor copes
Sampling of 9/11 memorials
Pentagon survivors move on
Moments of silence on Sept. 11
Survivors try to move forward
Families cling to chances
Sept. 11 widow trying to forgive
Widow becomes an advocate
Workplace response varies
Graphic: Funds offer relief





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