From the Savannah Morning News, :
Freighter hijackings and terrorist swimmers are among key concerns of the U.S. Coast Guard as it prepares to secure area waterways for the upcoming G-8 Sea Island Summit, according to agency briefing papers prepared late last week.
The documents provide a list of potential threats after warning: “Terrorist scenarios are receiving attention at all levels.”
Feared actions include:
* Executing a USS Cole-type incident, which took place in 2000, when terrorists blew a hole in the hull of a Navy ship in the Middle East;
* Grounding vessels;
* Taking control of a vessel and steering it into a protected zone;
* Swimming across the Savannah River to gain access to the press center and dignitary area;
* Blocking a deep-draft vessel;
* Using divers to plant explosives on a dock or a pier;
* Boarding vessels and draping banners;
* Creating anarchy on the waterfront.
Grounding a vessel or steering it to the security zones would be a classic move by terrorists, according to Steven C. Bronson, a retired Navy boatswain mate chief.
He is an internationally renowned maritime counter-terrorist expert whose company – Tactical Waterborne Operations of Virginia Beach, Va., – has trained Coast Guard and other law enforcement teams around the country in tactics and techniques.
“They use all of this as a diversion,” Bronson said. “They’ll drive a boat on the beach and disappear into the woods and draw all the attention and fire to one spot, while the real attack will be at another location.”
Swimmers could prove to be especially problematic, Bronson said. They could get right up to one of the tied-up excursion boats or a nearby dock and plant an explosive. This could prove particularly useful if a terrorist could conduct an operation on the river in front of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, where most of the media will be located throughout the June 8-10 summit.
The Coast Guard briefing papers warn against taking the threats too lightly – as was the case, the agency argues, with the World Trade Organization about five years ago: “One of the major issues with the WTO at Seattle is that they ignored early, consistent intelligence.”