Anti-terror rule punishes fishermen

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005

On top of the new harbor fees, boating in Southeast Alaska will be difficult with the proposed security zones around cruise ships. These security zones will include 75 feet while the cruise ship is anchored or moored in our harbors and 300 feet while in transit with an additional security zone of 450 feet (600 total) where they will restrict your boats speed.

The United States should not be protecting foreign-registered vessels to the detriment of small American businesses, (commercial fishermen, charter operations and supporting businesses) and recreational boaters. We use the waters of Southeast Alaska at our own risk, so why can't the cruise ship industry? If the Coast Guard and the United States continue to propose and enact regulations of this nature, they are letting the terrorists win by preventing the Alaskan waterfront and coastal communities from operating in a normal fashion. We are not the bad guys.

This regulation is totally impractical in Southeast Alaska. Many of the cities harbors, fuel docks, processing facilities are within these security zone limits. This will impact the ability of commercial fishermen to operate not only in the town getting supplies, fuel and unloading fish but actually fishing in some of our traditional areas. How will a boat be stopped from entering within the security zone? What happens to a boat that is stopped for breaching a security zone? Who will enforce the security zones? The enforcement of this proposed rule will be incredibly costly to the American public.

Winning the war on terror shouldn't mean waging war on commercial fishing and recreational boats of Alaska and restricting the rights and freedoms of Americans. Please don't allow this rule to be enacted allowing foreign-flagged vessels protection (from what?) and restricting American freedoms. If a terrorist truly wants to harm a cruise ship in Alaska, they will find a way and this proposed rule would be completely inadequate.

Don't let terrorism win by preventing boating in Southeast Alaska so the cruise ship industry can operate with an expensive false sense of security. Let's act like Americans, exercise our right to comment and end this nonsense. Most boaters didn't think it was necessary to write in on the new harbor fees because it couldn't happen; it did. This might too, if we don't all speak up.

The comment period ends May 27.

Kathy Hansen


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