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New Measures Enhance Security at Bay Area Airports

New Measures Enhance Security at Bay Area Airports

Press Releases
August 2nd, 2004

The Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland International Airport (OAK) announced today the permanent re-establishment of marine security zones at each airport that will take affect on Tuesday.

The entry, transiting through, or anchoring of any unauthorized vessel within 200 yards seaward of either airport’s shoreline is prohibited in order to provide an additional measure of safety for individuals and facilities within and adjacent to the airports.

“This permanent marine security zones is the result of a truly collaborative effort on the part of the airports, the U.S. Coast Guard, the ports, TSA, law enforcement and local community groups,” said Carol DiBattiste, Deputy Administrator of TSA. “While security is enhanced, residents and visitors alike will also be able to enjoy this beloved Bay for the numerous pleasures it offers – from boating to fishing to windsurfing.”

The SFO and OAK security zones are marked with small white buoys that have orange reflective striping and the words “security zone” emblazoned upon them. The orange diamond on each buoy indicates no entry.

“In conjunction with our on-water partner law enforcement agencies, we intend to aggressively enforce these security zones,” said Rear Admiral Kevin Eldridge, Commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District, adding, “Enforcement of these and other security zones around the Bay Area are a key part of our homeland security initiatives.”

Security officials at each airport will monitor the security zones 24-hours a day. In addition, the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, the San Mateo and Alameda County Sheriff’s offices, and San Francisco Police Department will randomly patrol these security zones.

“Oakland International is the first west coast airport to establish a maritime security zone, furthering our commitment to provide a safe and secure facility for our users,” said Director of Aviation Steve Grossman. “Working together with our law enforcement partners, the airport is now better prepared to meet the increased security demands in this post-9/11 environment,” added Grossman.

Violations of these security zones are punishable by criminal penalties of up to six years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines, and civil penalties of up to $32,500 in fines per violation.

The security zones were published in the federal register on June 21, 2004. Additional information on the security zone can be obtained from the Federal Register, Volume 69, Number 118, Monday, June 21, 2004, page 34280.

Security zones were initially established at each airport on Sep. 21, 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The initial zones extended seaward 2000-yards from the San Francisco Airport shoreline and seaward 1800-yards from the Oakland Airport shoreline. Both zones were reduced to 1000 yards in February 2002 after much discussion between airport officials and the public.

The zones were reduced again in July 2002 to 200-yards based on numerous written comments that urged a further reduction to allow greater public access for fishing, windsurfing and other aquatic activities. The zones were allowed to expire on Dec. 21, 2002.

Noting several security incursions by boat since the zones lapsed, officials reassessed the need for the zones during summer 2003 and began the effort that led to the establishment of the permanent security zones on Tuesday.

The only other known permanent maritime security zones around U.S. airports are located in New York. These zones were established in January 2004.