Two webcams over the San Diego Bay have recently been shut down after a request by the U.S. Navy, leading to frustrations and suspicions from the locals running the cameras.
The removal of the webcams from the Cabrillo National Monument drew claims from San Diego Web Cam group leader Barry Bahrami that the move was due to a near-collision of two Navy ships in November.
Bahrami’s YouTube channel currently includes five live streams of the San Diego area. They include a rotating feed of San Diego, two at San Diego Harbor Island and two at San Diego Shelter Island.
The channel says that users can listen to NOAA and VHF marine radio on the live cameras, follow Navy ships, watch cruise and cargo ships, and catch sunrises and sunsets. The live streams are free, with donations encouraged to support the effort.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) spokesman Jeff Houston told CBS 8 in a statement that the request was made due to security concerns.
“NCIS informally expressed force protection concerns to the National Park Service related to the private webcams and YouTube channel, which provided 24-hour webcam monitoring of vessels and equities located aboard Naval Air Station North Island, including aircraft hangers/flight lines, Naval Base Point Loma submarine assets, and the tracking of military personnel working aboard Naval Base Coronado,” the statement read. “We look forward to continuing close coordination with NPS.”
Bahrami rejected NCIS’ statement.
“The whole argument of forced protection is nonsensical when you figure that anyone that comes here can see way more than we ever dared show on a live stream,” he said.
The near-collision of two Navy ships in San Diego Bay in November was the source of a military investigation that concluded multiple failures were involved, including insufficient communications between the two ships.
“This preliminary inquiry is an opportunity to critically assess processes and implement lessons learned to ensure this type of incident does not occur again,” Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in the report.
The two ships would have collided in the “most dangerous portion” of the San Diego harbor, leading to the blockage of additional ships, according to the report.
Video and audio of the incident, captured by Bahrami’s group webcam, quickly went viral. The Twitter video was viewed nearly 200,000 times, not including many additional views on YouTube.
“Before this blows up too much, it should be noted that while the depiction seen here is accurate, the video and audio are not in sync. We employ measures to protect our military service members, some you see and some you don’t. In this case, audio was delayed more than video,” the San Diego Web Cam Twitter account said alongside the video. A longer version was also added to the group’s YouTube channel.