SAIPAN AIRPORT READY FOR HIGH ALERT

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Mar. 20) - The Commonwealth Ports Authority has crafted a layer of security measures at the Saipan International Airport in response to calls for vigilance as the clock ticks on the 48-hour deadline that President Bush gave Iraq.

The CPA leadership ordered a thorough inspection of all incoming vehicles at the airline counter of the airport as of yesterday, with several temporary checkpoints being set up.

Today, CPA would implement more stringent measures, with roads leading to the Saipan airport to be manned by the Ports Police.

Also, CPA disclosed that the Koblerville road leading to the airport would be closed starting today and vehicles going in would be asked to use the service road and be subject to a checkpoint at the entrance of the SIA vicinity.

Ports police personnel disclosed that orders would be handed down today, although all measures are now properly in place. The police also disclosed that anticipation for highest alert level is high as the 48-hour deadline draws near.

"We don’t know if red alert would be hoisted today. We are awaiting orders from the boss," said Ports Police personnel yesterday.

According to CPA Executive Director Carlos H. Salas, all necessary precautionary measures are in place as alert level was heightened following the ultimatum issued by Bush the other day.

The CPA, in coordination with the Department of Public Safety and the Ports Police, would be securing Saipan’s air transportation facility to closely monitor incoming vehicles.

Initial plan includes closing the roads leading to the Saipan airport, with the CPA implementing one-way traffic at the island’s air transport facility.

Also, uniformed law enforcers would be deployed at the airport’s vicinity while other officers from various agencies would be dispatched to secure other parts of the facility.

Salas said the number of law enforcers at the airport was increased following the heightened alert level. He refused to divulge the number of officers securing the Saipan airport.

March 20, 2003

Saipan Tribune: http://www.tribune.co.mp 

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