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Failure to secure armed RCMP presence at Prince Rupert’s terminal leads to end of Alaska ferry service

On Oct. 1, the Alaska Marine Highway System will no longer provide service from Ketchikan to Rupert
The Alaska Marine Highway System ferries will no longer be running to Prince Rupert as of Oct. 1 due to a failure to secure an RCMP presence for unarmed American border personal in Prince Rupert. (Michael Penn/The Juneau Empire via AP)

Ferry service from Prince Rupert to Alaska will be ending Oct. 1, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) offically announced Wednesday.

In March, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents notified AMHS that they needed to secure a Canadian law enforcement presence to protect unarmed American personnel during inspections in Prince Rupert. AMHS was given an Oct. 1 deadline to finalize the plan.

“All avenues for local law enforcement were pursued, but AMHS was not able to secure the staff necessary to fulfill this requirement. The new requirement specifies a Canadian law enforcement presence with the ability to make arrests in Canada, which is not a duty that AMHS staff are able to perform,” AMHS stated in their press release.

The release said they worked with the city and RCMP but neither parties had the staff available to perform the duties necessary.

Early in August, Alaska’s governor, Mike Dunleavy, signed a bill finalizing the state’s budget for the fiscal year including a $5 million cut to AMHS which would have further reduced service from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert..

At the July 22 council meeting Mayor Lee Brain said he was working to bring all the players together to find a solution to the problems facing the ferry service.

READ MORE: Alaska ferry service may have to pay armed RCMP at Prince Rupert terminal

READ MORE: Mayor Brain scheduling multi-stakeholder meeting to save Alaska ferry in Prince Rupert

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
Jenna Cocullo 
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