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By Mike Gordon

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (April 3, 2002 – Honolulu Advertiser)---The U.S. Coast Guard closed Honolulu Harbor about 8:30 a.m. today after a bomb-sniffing dog alerted its handlers to something suspicious near Pier 2, said spokeswoman Lt. DesaRae Atnip.

All incoming and outgoing traffic was halted, she said.

A private security company hired by the state to patrol the harbor was using the dog to check cargo on about 30 pallets, she said.

"It might be nothing. It might be fireworks. We don't know how serious it is," Atnip said.

Alan Murakami, state harbor operations supervisor, said the Coast Guard decided to shut down the harbor.

"Apparently a suspicious package was found this morning at the makai (ocean) end of Pier 2," Murakami said. "They’re checking it out."

Murakami said a cruise ship, Crystal Harmony, is at the pier, but he didn’t know what precautions the ship was taking or if evacuations were necessary.

The closure forced ships to wait outside Honolulu Harbor until an all clear is given, Murakami said.

"Right now a Matson container ship and two Young Brothers barges are being held up," Murakami said. "They’re just hanging loose out there.

"Fortunately, the traffic today is pretty light," Murakami continued. "On a busy day, this could be a big problem. The longer this thing goes, it could affect other vessels."

Representatives with the Honolulu Police Department, the FBI, Immigration and Naturalization Services, U.S. Customs and harbor police were investigating, Atnip said.

For additional reports from The Honolulu Advertiser, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Honolulu Advertiser.

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