Boston to be evaluation port for Coast Guard use of warning ammunition

BOSTON - Petty Officer 3rd Class Keith Owens, a Machinery Technician at Coast Guard Station Boston, takes aim at a dingy with a wooden silhouette during a training exercise off the coast of Hull, Mass., Tuesday, June 15, 2010. Station Allerton and Station Boston crews practiced using less-than-lethal techniques, including using Coast Guard presence with the boatâ??s blue lights flashing, instructing the operator to stop the boat and using less-than-lethal munitions to stop the operator of the boat. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Terrell.BOSTON — Coast Guard crews in Boston are adding warning munitions, a less-than-lethal warning tool, to Coast Guard assets conducting vessel escorts in Boston Harbor as a test for potential nationwide implementation, Thurs., Dec. 9, 2010.

Coast Guard Station Boston is adopting the munitions as another means to warn non-compliant boaters that they are entering a security zone.

This technology is being tested in other areas around the country with focus on various missions and feedback from each port will be compiled into future updates to Coast Guard policy and procedures.

The 12-gauge shotgun ammunition can be fired from a Coast Guard vessel into the path of a vessel that has failed to respond to radio calls and other signals to halt.

Once fired, a plastic and aluminum projectile will ignite after approximately 100-meters to create a bright flash of light and loud sound. This is a positive method to accurately determine the intent of a vessel prior to utilizing more aggressive tactics to enforce security zones around vessels and facilities.

“The Coast Guard, working with local and state authorities, conducts a vital and complex maritime security mission,” said Lt. Garrett Meyer of Coast Guard Sector Boston’s response department. “We are always looking for safe, effective opportunities to better protect our waterways. The munitions are an unmistakable warning to non-compliant vessels that will help us keep the Port of Boston safe.”

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