Security falls into place

The security network that has been planned for the Olympic Games is falling into place day by day. Today, a blimp that has been rented to keep watch over Athens with high-tech surveillance cameras and carry a crew of heavily armed anti-terror officers will begin test flights over the city. Also, the port of Piraeus will be closed from 9 to 11 a.m. today as fiberoptic surveillance cables are laid in the harbor’s depths. «With the placing of the fiberoptic surveillance cables at the bottom of the harbor, the port will be safest in Europe and the United States as we will be able to keep watch over every movement in the depths, even the direction in which schools of fish are swimming,» a coast guard officer told Kathimerini. Also, scores of cameras have been set up in and around the harbor. Equipment that can detect explosives, metal and narcotics is in place and continuous patrols have begun. From August 2, only people with tickets will be allowed to enter the port area. In the air, apart from NATO early warning planes that will be looking for any renegade aircraft entering Greek air space, Greece’s Olympic security umbrella includes a network of 16 interconnected ground units keeping watch for «Category 2» aerial threats, such as gliders, hang-gliders and even remote-controlled model planes. Helicopters will be used to deal with any such threat. In Brussels yesterday, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis briefed EU home affairs ministers on Greece’s security planning. The Netherlands’ Johan Remkes, who was presiding, expressed his certainty that everything possible was being done. Voulgarakis told the meeting that the implementation of security measures, which began on July 1, is running according to schedule. He stressed that the Greek authorities had done «everything humanly possible» to ensure the safety of visitors and venues in Olympic cities. The security planning also includes NATO naval patrols around Greece and the deployment of units trained to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical threats.