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

Skate greats

Fuller Lake’s Fernau and Stuart in action at the Island Interclub competition

USW, WFP remain at loggerheads

Statements from both the union and company about the latest negotiations

Sensitivity in the eye of the beholder

Take a page from the Scottish and tough it out

Have a Blues Christmas in Crofton Saturday

Big Hank and the R&B Kingpins perform a holiday show with a twist

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

One person injured in rollover crash on the highway in Nanaimo

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

Boy went from being in perfect health to being on life support after just five months

B.C. judge tosses ‘N’ driver’s claim he was just using phone to decline his mom’s call

Distracted driving laws are more strict for Class 7, or Novice drivers, the judge noted

Woman calls 911 to say she was late for train, asks Ontario police for ‘emergency ride’

Peel Regional Police received more than 180,000 improper calls so far this year

It could take you 218 years to save up for a house in this B.C. neighbourhood

It would take 27 years in the most affordable city in the Lower Mainland

Victim of downtown Courtenay assault dies from injuries

Person of interest identified by RCMP

Most Read