The Alaska Marine Highway System is facing severe budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year, which could end service to Prince Rupert. (Jay Galvin Flickr photo)

Alaska ferry service may have to pay armed RCMP at B.C. terminal

Without armed police at inspections, the port faces closure

Alaska will pay armed Canadian police to provide protection to U.S. personnel at a ferry terminal in B.C., state transportation officials said.

The Alaska Marine Highway System was notified in March that unarmed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents checking ferries leaving Prince Rupert, B.C., will require assistance from Royal Canadian Mounted Police, CoastAlaska reported Friday.

Without armed police at inspections, the port faces closure, officials said.

The Canadian officers will be contracted through the ferry service, which is facing budget cuts by Alaska’s Legislature.

Federal officials mandating the change “never offered” to help the state fund the contract, but Alaska officials consider it the cost of doing business, said ferry system general manager John Falvey.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a large sum of money,” Falvey said.

READ MORE: Uncertain future for Alaska ferry terminal in Prince Rupert

Alaska officials have an Oct. 1 deadline to finalize a plan, he said.

Passengers and vehicles boarding Alaska ferries in Prince Rupert, 188 kilometres south of Ketchikan, are routinely checked by U.S. agents. The “pre-clearance” system allows passengers to disembark without presenting paperwork again, officials said.

U.S. personnel cannot carry firearms while doing passport and contraband checks in Prince Rupert, said Jerry McGee, customs service assistant area port director in Anchorage.

“It’s a sovereign nation and we don’t have that authority,” McGee said.

Passengers are allowed carry hunting rifles and shotguns, which are legal in both countries.

“Therefore, theoretically our staff would be the only ones that are not armed,” McGee said.

An agreement allowing U.S. agents to carry firearms in Prince Rupert is several years away, officials said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP: Appledale homicide investigation still active

A 59-year-old man was found dead on May 20

Brrrrring in the New Year with the Polar Bear Swim

Kootenay Co-op Radio teams up with local stewardship groups for annual dip

Nelson Community Food Centre celebrates with Festive Food Days

The idea is to share healthful, festive food over the holidays with people not able to afford it.

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to leader’s surprise resignation

The resignation of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer caught members of his caucus by surprise

Kootenay-Columbia MP talks throne speech, USMCA trade deal

Rob Morrison to open constituency office in Cranbrook at 800C Baker St. on Dec. 19

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, B.C. toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Most Read