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 Prince Rupert 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 Prince Rupert, 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 the northern B.C. city, 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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prince Rupert citizens concerned by influx of out of province visitors

Local politicians call on Minister of Oceans and Fisheries to limit licenses

Bunkowski’s busted out of the boredom during self isolation

After 14 days Prince Rupert family finally finds freedom

COVID-19 liability protection for essential workers

Provincial government taking steps to limit operators from being sued

Prince Rupert seniors are often not able to purchase groceries

Shopping hours, panic buying makes basic essentials extremely difficult for those at high risk

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

‘Drive right through’: Haida Gwaii First Nation erects checkpoint for non-residents

Skidegate Band Council Emergency Operations Centre erected checkpoint on April 2

Most Read