Additional measures taken by the Port of Los Angeles in the wake of a bizarre incident in which a man fell from a crane include fortified entries and exits, additional signage, cones and security checking the credentials of all workers and vendors.
Additional security measures are being designed and being put in place at the Port of Los Angeles, officials announced Aug. 25.
The Port of Los Angeles is adding new security measures at its West Basin Container Terminal, including additional security personnel and road barriers in the wake of a bizarre incident in which a trespasser climbed a 100-foot tall gantry crane and died when he fell off it, port officials said Aug. 25.
The additional measures include “fortified entries and exits with gates, additional signage, cones and security members here checking each and every credential of workers and vendors that come in and out of this complex,” port Executive Director Gene Seroka said during a morning news conference at the terminal. “This is a private road and we will manage it as such.”
“These are interim steps that were put in place in less than a week to signify our commitment to the Port of Los Angeles and to West Basin terminal and our other customers,” Port of LA Police Chief Tom Gazsi added. “There’s additional security measures that are being designed and being put in place specifically here as we also evaluate some of our other terminals for other potential vulnerabilities.”
Already patrolling the port area are armed Los Angeles Port Police officers, plus the LA Police Dept. and Customs & Border Protection have armed officers on site at port terminals. The U.S. Coast Guard also has armed assets on both the water and land at times.
However, the security guards at the West Basin terminal are unarmed and employed by a private company hired by the terminal operator, China Shipping North America (CSNA), a subsidiary of COSCO Shipping.
“We put armed assets at places where we find that it’s necessary,” Gazsi explained. “And in the case of the tragic event last week … that individual was not armed and it wouldn’t have been appropriate to use firearms in that circumstance.”
The circumstance referenced was the trespassing and fatality that occurred at the terminal on Aug. 16, when a suspected car thief who was being chased by authorities drove onto the West Basin terminal, and after ditching the car he was in, managed to climb a 160-foot gantry crane and remain perched upon it for hours until he either slipped of fell from the crane.
The suspect, identified as James Llamas, 23, died upon impact. Prior to the fall, Llamas had exhibited bizarre behavior, such as doing exercises and handstands, before stripping completely naked.
The West Basin terminal, which covers 186 acres of land and containers two berths, as well as five post-Panamax cranes. In 2016, it serviced 211 ships, accounting for 15 percent of the Port of LA’s containerized volume.
So far, port officials have refused to divulge a timetable as far as when any new long-term security measure might be put into place.
“We are going to move as swiftly as possible, I have staff working around the clock looking at long-term solutions,” Seroka said.
Port officials have also declined to say how much any current or future added security measures might cost.
“Although we look at every public dollar we spend with extreme scrutiny, putting the priority of the safety our workers and our port assets was the number one thought in my mind, and I authorized Chief Gazi and our engineering department to move as swiftly as possible to fortify this area and give thoughtful contemplation to what our next long-term steps will be,” Seroka said.