Mon, Mar 31, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Coast guard shows off its anti-terror skills

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Coast Guard Administration yesterday demonstrated its anti-terror capabilities in an exercise at sea that highlighted the special operations unit of the administration for the first time.

The special operations unit, composed of well-trained police officers, was the focus of attention in the "Haian No. 2" exercise, the coast guard's largest in two years. The exercise took place in Tamsui.

Its performances in the exercise, ranging from speedboat acrobatics to anti-terror operations, won great praise from President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who attended and watched the whole process of the drill.

After the drill, Chen delivered a speech to coast guard officials at the site, encouraging the coast guard to further strengthen its three-dimensional (air, land and sea) operation capabilities.

Yesterday's exercise gave an outline of the kind of three-dimensional operation capabilities that the coast guard is expected to acquire in the future.

It was the second large-scale drill the coast guard has held since its inauguration three years ago.

The last drill of this kind was launched two years ago at a time when the coast guard still lacked sufficient equipment and training to effectively execute missions.

Two years later, the coast guard has brought in a lot of new hardware, including ships, oil-spill-handling equipment and surveillance devices.

It now also employs two helicopters, although these helicopters are leased from a civil aviation company on a long-term basis.

In its first exercise, the coast guard had to borrow two helicopters from the National Police Administration to act as its air arm.

Almost all of the new hardware that the coast guard has deployed over the past two years was put to use in the Haian No. 2 exercise.

Three self-righting boats, which joined in service last year, demonstrated the coast guard's ability to provide support not only for sea rescue missions but also for fire fighting efforts.

The special operations unit made its first public presentation yesterday since its transfer from the marine police to the coast guard three years ago. The Coast Guard Administration is a combination of three governmental agencies: the coast command of the military, the marine police and part of the customs authorities.

The boat acrobatics that the unit performed were basic tactical movements against hostile targets. They were used in the anti-terror part of the Haian No. 2 exercise.

In a simulated anti-terror operation in the exercise, the special operations unit made the best use of its boat acrobatics to chase and encircle terrorists trying to escape by boat.

The boat chase was highly realistic and executed smoothly, earning great praise from President Chen.

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