Patrolling the Waterways - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Patrolling the Waterways

June 21,2007

Reported By: Natalie Grise

Countless boats enjoy Louisiana waterways, and law enforcement agencies team up to make sure it can stay that way.

Ashli Blanton of the Coast Guard in Texas, is part of the combined effort patrolling the intercoastal canal.

"After 9/11, the Maritime safety and security team was set up. We have thirteen units across the nation," she says, "When they need extra support, they call our team out."

And any boat coming their way is carefully checked for illegal immigrants, terrorists, or criminals that could be onboard.

"We run names of everybody to make sure no warrants and arrests are out," Blanton says.

Of the 27 vessels boarded in this four hour operation,  only one arrest was made.

"This operation wasn't based on any threat information or intellegence, and it wasn't an attempt to target any type of vessel, just to get a better idea about what's going on on our waterways," says Lt. Robert Bilbo, with the Coast Guard.

And they're mkaing sure whatever's going on is done safely. They look for life vests for every person on board, and fire extinguishers in good condition. Several safety citations were issued.

"This is a strategic waterway," says Captain Doug Poole of the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department, "We had our canine resources, marine resources, and other deputies out here."

So for safety and security, they'll keep checking so you can keep cruising.

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