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Wednesday, August 10, 2005
The U.S. Coast Guard, looking for ways to deter water-borne terrorist attacks, plans to deploy a new law enforcement tool: nets designed to tangle the running gear of boats entering restricted waters.
The netting, a floating line of 40-inch-long loops spaced 8 inches apart, would be used primarily to temporarily cordon off a section of harbor or bay.
“It would form a line of demarcation in the water. Think of it like the yellow tape police use on land,” said Neal Armstrong, a nonlethal weapons program manager for the Coast Guard at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. “It would be another tool in our tool bag.”
The Coast Guard, since the July 7 London bombings, has increased its presence on passenger ferries in the Bay Area, and the use of anti-propeller nets would be one way to stretch personnel even further, Armstrong said.
“We’re out and about,” said Lt. Kelly Thorkilson, a Coast Guard spokeswoman. “You are going to see us out on the water, in the air, on the land.”
The nets, known as the Mark 11 Static Barrier Running Gear Entanglement System, were the subject of a 320-page environmental review by the Coast Guard. The review was triggered by fears that, depending on where the nets are used, turtles, manatees, sea lions and other aquatic life might become snarled.
But the Coast Guard concluded that the nets won’t harm wildlife, and for the next 60 days, the agency is seeking comment on its findings from state and federal agencies and others. Use of the nets won’t start until late fall, at the earliest.
The nets, which cost about $32 a foot, would be used to create what the Coast Guard calls security zones. The nets would be particularly useful to help protect large gatherings such as a political convention, conference or sporting event.
Domestic port safety and security has long been a core Coast Guard mission. However, in the wake of the terrorist attacks committed on September 11, 2001, emerging threats to the U.S. homeland have prompted an increased Coast Guard focus on protecting domestic ports and the U.S. Maritime Transportation System from terrorist threats.
As part of the U.S. response to these threats, the Coast Guard has undertaken a PEA for the decision to establish and operate the MK 11 Static Barrier RGES at various and currently unknown U.S. ports throughout the U.S. Maritime Domain, when necessary. The MK 11 Static Barrier RGES would be used to provide a barrier around a high value asset or to establish a “line of demarcation” thereby outlining a security or safety zone and allow security forces sufficient time to react and counter a threat.
The MK 11 Static Barrier RGES would have a line that floats on the surface of the water, with 40-inch long loops spaced every 8 inches. Inflatable 15-inch buoys would be placed every 100 feet. Lights would also be attached every 100 feet, midway between the floatation buoys. Anchoring systems would be required every 200 feet.
The RGES could operate in typical harbor, anchorage, and wharf environments including fresh, salt and brackish waters, in air and water temperatures and thermoclines, as would typically be expected in a port/harbor environment. U.S. Coast Guard personnel would provide a continuous watch over the deployed MK 11 Static Barrier RGES.
Public input is important to the preparation of the Final PEA. Your concerns and comments regarding the establishment and operation of MK 11 Static Barrier RGES and the possible environmental impacts are important to the Coast Guard. Dated: July 8, 2005.Richard Button,CDR, U.S. Coast Guard, Chief, Office of Cutter Training.[FR Doc. 05-13957 Filed 7-14-05; 8:45 am]BILLING CODE 4910-15-P
Source: Federal Register
U.S. Coast Guard: Situation report
Wings of Gold, Winter 2001 by King, Thomas C
The Coast Guard is scheduling the functional test of the non-lethal Running Gear Entanglement System (RGES) against an evasive target. The RGES is a device that mounts on the starboard stub wing of an H-60 and pneumatically launches a 100-foot, 716-inch polyspectra rope net perpendicular to the flight path of the aircraft. System development and testing has been conducted jointly with the U.S. Navy through Project Erickson, which is tasked with developing non-lethal technology for Coast Guard missions. Previous tests on land and against non-evasive boats were successful. CGAS Elizabeth City HH-60 Jayhawks conducted these tests and are scheduled for the next phase of testing.
On the border: Station Alexandria Bay and Border Patrol agents work together to prevent illegal importation across America’s Northern border.
Coast Guard Magazine; 9/1/2004; Taylor, Allyson
Station Alexandria Bay introduced the Running Gear Entanglement System to the Border Patrol as a new tool of detaining boats that are suspected of smuggling. From a black box mounted on the tow bit at the stern of a Coast Guard boat, 60 feet of line is shot toward the boat by 3300 pounds of pressurized air. Once the line is in the water, the boat runs over it, causing it to become entangled in the propellers of the engines. The engines cut out, ultimately forcing the boat to come to a stop. Agents are then able to question the boat’s operator and inspect the boat’s contents.
Source: Coast Guard Magazine
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Portable Entanglement Net
United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
United States Coast Guard (USCG)
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is issuing a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) soliciting concept designs, proposed modifications of existing systems, and/or working prototypes of small portable net entanglement systems. The “nets” shall be at least 50 feet in length, made of a suitable rope or twine to entangle one or more propellers on an outboard powered planing craft at least 15 feet in length. The entire net/projectile assembly shall be easily recoverable. Any projectile used to pull the net shall pose minimum risk of injury to persons onboard the vessel to be entangled.
The USCG has developed various devices to entangle the propellers of small outboard or inboard/outboard (IO) powered craft (length over all up to 40 feet, total power up to 675 HP using one or more outboard or I/O engines) that do not comply with orders to stop. An existing system, the Running Gear Entanglement System (RGES) consists of a header-line with U-shaped loops of rope suspended below it. It has been proven effective, but must be deployed by dragging it in front of the vessel to be stopped.
The USCG has found that it is relatively easy to fire a net into the water such that the net affixes itself to the lower unit. The difficulty has been in getting the net to entangle the vessels propeller blades. The next step of research and development is broken into two phases. Phase I produces a concept design and conducts a design review at the developers facility; develops a working launching and entanglement concept demonstrator; delivers a test plan for government approval, and conducts deployment and entanglement demonstrations against an outboard-powered planing boat. Phase I also develops a test report and delivers one working concept demonstrator of the launching system and net.
Phase II makes any needed improvements and modifications and performs uniform testing of promising systems against a standardized target craft. The scope of this BAA covers all of Phase I.
Deadline: September 30, 2005