Wilmington Port to Study Security on River

Wilmington, NC – The North Carolina Ports Authority is embarking on a major study of security up and down the Cape Fear River, as part of a nearly one and a half million dollar grant package from the Federal Government.

The half-million dollar assessment will look at vulnerabilities not just at the Port of Wilmington, but also at other potential targets along the river, including the military terminal at Sunny Point and the Progress Energy nuclear plant.

Ports CEO Tom Eagar says this study will be the most comprehensive ever undertaken by an American port, and that results will contribute to the design of the planned international port in Brunswick County.

With the introduction of the construction planned for the new facility, we thought it was very important to address these issues from a broader scale.

The federal grants, announced by Congressman Mike McIntyre and Port officials on Wednesday, will also fund two other projects: a new command and control center for emergency operations and a remote-controlled underwater craft.

Eagar says the submersible will help detect everything from explosives to drugs which might be attached under the water line of incoming ships.

It almost looks like a small torpedo, very high-tech, has a camera, and you can in essence take it right up to the vessel and get a very clear picture of anything that might be on the hull.

North Carolina's ports have received more than nine million dollars in federal security funding in the past six years. Officials estimate they are more than halfway to fulfilling their security needs.