One of the largest ships in Auke Bay today is a sign of changes in homeland security for coastal Alaska. The 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Long Island is visiting Juneau on the way from its former base in San Diego to its new home port of Valdez.
The cutter pulled into Auke Bay about 3 p.m. Wednesday and could leave today, Saturday or Sunday, said Coast Guard spokesman Roger Wetherell.
"For security purposes, no tours are being offered," he said.
Like other "Island-class" cutters, the Long Island's missions include search and rescue, drug enforcement, migrant interdiction and fisheries enforcement. But by being based in Valdez, the ship and its crew of about 17 will be available for protection of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline's southern terminus and related oil-transfer and storage facilities. The Coast Guard has added other staff and patrols at the tanker port since Sept. 11, 2001.