Northern Border Security
U.S. Coast Guard, Canada take team approach to Winter Games security
By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Assistant Editor
Sagers said a considerable amount
of time and planning already has occurred in preparation for the games.
An unknown factor, the weather,
could lend a helping hand in the ability to patrol the waterways.
“Taking place in February, that’s
a period of unforgiving waters.
From a security aspect, we are
hoping that’s going to be an eliminating factor, but we are still going
to bring considerable resources to
the area,” Sagers said.
The Strait of Georgia and Rosario
Strait are the two bodies of water
that run from Vancouver into the United States. Security
details have not been finalized and the service would not
disclose the number of people and assets that likely
would be involved.
Adm. Thad Allen, Coast Guard commandant, said he
met with the chief of Olympic security in June and
received an overview of how the planning is coming
together. He said he is confident the Coast Guard can
handle its land security responsibilities, but said the
service is keeping an eye on inbound shipping.
“It’s very unusual to have a winter Olympics at a
port,” Allen told reporters at Coast Guard Headquarters
in Washington Aug. 6.
The Coast Guard assisted in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Allen said taking part
in security measures for the upcoming games would
“increase our knowledge and experience” with large-scale events. The United States is vying to host the
2016 Summer Olympics in Chicago and the U.S. Soccer Federation is bidding to host the 2018 and 2022
FIFA World Cup soccer events.
The primary mission of Shiprider is to secure the borders, but it also will assist with other security measures
during the Olympics. The agreement was signed in May
but has not been finalized because of a number of gov-
The U.S. Coast Guard will play a key role in border security for the
February 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.
■ During the three weeks of the games, the service will rely heavily on the cooperative Shiprider program.
■ Shiprider was first used by the Ninth Coast Guard District during the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit.
■ The border with Canada is nearly 4,000 miles long and considered the longest undefended border in the world.
Security along the U.S. border with Canada requires cooperation, collaboration and com- munication. How well the U.S. Coast Guard
and Canadian authorities do those three things will be
put to the test this winter.
The world will be watching Feb. 12-28 when
Vancouver, British Columbia, hosts the 2010 Olympic
Winter Games. Just 30 miles from the U.S. border, it is
practically in the backyard of Seattle-based Coast
Guard District 13.
Key to the security effort during those three weeks will
be the Integrated Maritime Security Operation pilot program, better known as Shiprider, an Integrated Border
Enforcement Team initiative that joins U.S. and Canadian
law enforcement officials to man vessels and enforce each
nation’s laws. The Canadian government has asked the
U.S. Coast Guard to participate in Shiprider operations in
support of the 2010 Olympic Games.
Shiprider was first employed with the Ninth Coast
Guard District and Canadian officials for the 2006
Super Bowl in Detroit.
“This is something we definitely wanted to employ
for Olympic security,” said Lt. Joshua Sagers, coastal
patrol boat manager and northern border operation
officer for District 13.