This week, the United Nations is the world’s premier venue for current events — which, one could say, is the forte of the U.S. Coast Guard.
So naturally the military branch’s boats are a familiar presence during the U.N. General Assembly, guarding the aquatic border of the United Nations alongside New York City police boats. While three sides of the perimeter around the U.N. headquarters are lined with barricades, the United Nations’ adjacency to the East River requires a different security arrangement.
The U.N. General Assembly makes for “the largest maritime security operation in the nation,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Kyle Weist, the emergency management chief for the New York sector.
In addition to patrolling the stretch between the United Nations and the Long Island City section of Queens, the Coast Guard also has teams boarding ships that arrive in the ports of New York and New Jersey.
“The entire operation lasts two weeks and consists of 20 small boats and crews, four Coast Guard ships, two helicopters and 12 law enforcement boarding teams.” Weist said via email. “These assets and crews are mobilized from units throughout the nation and deploy to NYC to support this critical maritime safety and security mission.”
While it’s mostly a sheer drop from the U.N. grounds to the water, there’s a Coast Guard cutter capable of breaking ice that’s moored at a makeshift dock. That cutter, the Penobscot Bay, serves as a platform from which to oversee the Coast Guard operations on the East River.
The land barriers are notoriously disruptive to New Yorkers, and the summit similarly rocks the boat on water. Several NYC Ferry routes were delayed or suspended altogether Wednesday, with a service advisory in place for the duration of the General Assembly.