News Releases

Coast Guard Commandant Confirms to Murray: No Implementation of Ferry Plan Without Local Involvement

Oct 28 2002

Murray called Adm. Collins after potentially disruptive new procedures announced

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A series of new security measures developed by the Coast Guard to subject ferry passengers to strict airport-style screening and baggage checks will not be implemented without local involvement, the head of the Coast Guard told Sen. Patty Murray Monday.

The Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Tom Collins, apologized to Murray for neglecting to inform members of the Washington state delegation about the proposed procedures, and promised that absent a national emergency, the guidelines would not be implemented without involvement of local authorities and procedures that work for daily commuters.

Murray, the Chair of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, called the Commandant this morning, after reading reports of the proposed procedures that could disrupt the nation's largest ferry system.

"There is no question we live in a new era, where the security of our transportation systems is paramount," said Murray. "But an exhaustive new inspection and security regimen must include local input, from the people who manage and use the ferry system every day. We don't need long lines that keep passengers away from their families and jobs unnecessarily."

Collins confirmed to Murray there was no new intelligence indicating a threat to ferry operations.

"Admiral Collins promised me that the Coast Guard will work with local stakeholders including the Washington State Ferry system before implementing the new measures," Murray concluded.

Admiral Collins confirmed that Coast Guard staff is currently drafting a press release to clarify the security procedures. Sen. Murray met with Adm. Collins in July to discuss ferry security.

Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry operation in the country, where changes to security procedures will have a more acute impact on passengers than anywhere else.