LNG TANKER ARRIVES IN BOSTON, INSPECTED & SAFE—THIS TIME

The first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Yemen arrived in Boston Harbor this week, amid high security and attention. Officials from Boston and surrounding communities were satisfied with the procedures for the docking of the hulking vessel but wondered whether the same attention would be given to the next 25 shipments that are to come.

A Coast Guard team boarded and searched the ship, scanned the hull for explosives, and recorded the faces, retinas, and fingerprints of crew members. The 935-foot Maran Gas Coronis arrived flanked by pilot vessels and tugs. Patrol cars and wagons parked at nearly every vantage point with a view of the ship’s arrival.

Local officials yesterday praised the security measures, but they questioned whether such attention will continue as shipments go on from the Middle Eastern country known to have harbored cells of the terrorist group Al Qaeda.

“This is the first run from Yemen, and it went off very successfully, because the eyes of the world were on this ship,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in an interview. “We expect that, because the Coast Guard was there, State Police were there, every security group was there to watch it. But you know this was the first one. What happens to the next 25 that come to Boston?’’

According to the Boston Globe, opponents of the tankers worry that terrorists could board a ship as stowaways and potentially ignite the flammable gas as the tanker docks in Boston. In 2004, a study commissioned by the Department of Energy concluded that a terrorist attack on an LNG tanker would cause “major injuries and significant damage to structures’’ a third of a mile away and could cause second-degree burns on people more than a mile away. Also that year, the Boston Fire Department estimated that up to 10,000 people could die in a LNG fire in Boston. Officials of the company importing the LNG, Distrigas of Massachusetts, dispute the risk outlined in the critical studies. There is no data on what a terrorist attack could do to surrounding states. Connecticut officials joined forces to keep a LNG terminal out of Long Island Sound.

According to the Globe, Distrigas has signed a 20-year contract with its Yemeni supplier and expects to bring as many as 30 shipments a year through Boston Harbor. The company provides 20 percent of New England’s natural gas on a typical day.
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If any Shadder read the Hartford Courant this morning, they would have seen a story about Governor Rell blowing off the National Governors Association held this past weekend into Monday. The Shad posted the story Tuesday morning.
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Olympic notes:
The USA men’s hockey team had a close call in the quarterfinals, beating Switzerland 2-0 (empty net goal at the end). While everyone is extolling the youth factor of the American team, it was the veterans that carried the play. Nothing but the very best hockey in the world to come from here on out.

Lindsay Vonn v. Julie Mancuso? I’ll taking Mancuso any day, on any topic.

I love NBC bringing back Dorothy Hamill and Kristi Yamaguchi for their views and analysis on the figure skating. They are still great personalities. USA’s Nordic combined team broke new ground—making it hard not to watch the rather boring sport of cross-country skiing.