Coast Guard to Enforce Security Zones

JUNEAU, Alaska – The summer 2007 tourist season will start next week, with the arrival of this year’s first cruise ship. As in years past, the Coast Guard will be enforcing the High Capacity Passenger Vessel (HCPV) and Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) security zone.

An HCP vessel is defined as a passenger vessel over 100 feet in length that is authorized to carry more than 500 passengers for hire. An AMHS vessel is defined as any vessel owned or operated by the Alaska Marine Highway System.

The security zone extends 100 yards around and under all escorted HCP and/or AMHS vessels during their transit in the navigable waters of Alaska. The security zone will only be in effect when there is a designated on scene representative present during the escort of the HCP or AMHS vessel.

The HCP or AMHS vessels will be accompanied by one or more Coast Guard, Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies (surface or air assets). These are called the “designated on scene representatives”.

No person or vessel (except commercial fishing vessels while actively engaged in fishing) may enter the security zone unless authorized by the designated on scene representative.

The official patrol authorized to enforce these regulations include Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, and petty officers as well as federal, state, or local law enforcement officers when acting on behalf of the Coast Guard.

If an escorted HCP or AMHS vessel is underway and approaches within 100 yards of a moored or anchored vessel, the moored or anchored vessel must remain moored or anchored while in the security zone unless ordered or given permission to move by the designated representative.

If permission is granted to transit within 100 yards of an escorted HCP or AMHS vessel, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions of the on scene designated representative.

The security zones are necessary to mitigate potential terrorist acts and enhance public and maritime safety and security.

Violations of this security zone could result in both civil and/or criminal penalties.

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