Coast Guard OK’s Yemen deliveries; – Mayor, local residents outraged

Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, Charlestown residents, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino have expressed extreme disappointment with the Coast Guard’s decision to allow shipments of LNG on Yemen based tankers to arrive and off-load their product in Boston Harbor.

With the tankers all having to come into the harbor and to sail under the Tobin Bridge to their dockage on the Everett shore of the river, much of Charlestown, parts of Winthrop and Chelsea and Everett are put at severe risk, according to officials.

“I’m confident that the Yemen tankers will be as safe as any others that come through the port,” said the Coast Guard’s Robert Healey, Captain of the Port of Boston.

Mayor Menino said the Coast Guard’s decision to allow the Yemen based LNG tankers to come into the Port of Boston is a mistake.

“This is not a new issue. It is a major problem. I am disappointed. This is the wrong decision. It puts the business interests of large corporations ahead of the security of Boston area residents. LNG tankers should not be passing through Boston Harbor. A long term strategy to fix this problem is what’s necessary,” said the mayor.

Chelsea city manager Jay Ash has sided with the mayor on behalf of the residents of Chelsea, whose shoreline makes that city a captive hostage if an incident occurs.

“Mayor Menino is right. Extra security alone is not a proper solution. The greater question is how LNG can be off-loaded outside of the harbor,” said Ash.

Distrigas officials believe shipments of LNG to the Distrigas depot in Everett do not pose a risk to local populations – and officials have pointed to a flawless, accident free record over more than two-decades.

“Each one of these shipments represents a potential disaster. It will take one incident and that incident might have the power to change all our lives forever,” said Peter Looney of Charlestown.

Mr. Looney and a number of Charlestown residents have been speaking up for years about the potential danger of LNG shipments made into Boston Harbor.

Yemen is a nation wracked by social unrest and is the staging ground for terrorists and the home of Al Quaeda training camps.

It is believed by Homeland Security officials that Yemen has been the launching place for numerous terrorist attacks against Americans – and Yemen was the place where the Nigerian young man who tried to bomb to a plane over Detroit last Christmas received his training.

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