Faced with threats of terrorist attacks, the United States must harden its ports.
Yesterday morning, terrorists used the Kuwait-flagged merchant vessel Umm Salat—a commercial ship loaded with more than 10,000 shipping containers—to attack New York Harbor just as the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Week began. After the harbor pilot boarded the ship, the crew revealed its intentions to him—to conduct a suicide attack. The ship increased speed to flank and aimed for the largest Navy ship in the harbor. Prior to the collision with the USS New York (LPD-21) the terrorists opened and dumped dozens of containers overboard, dispersing hundreds of naval mines into the water, completely seeding the harbor. The impact of the Umm Salat with the New York effectively destroyed and sank both ships. Explosives detonated in shipping containers on the bow of the Umm Salat killed hundreds of Navy sailors and civilians who were touring the New York or waiting on the pier. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey immediately halted all shipping into and out of the port while mine clearing operations commenced.