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

Dancing with Shuswap Stars attracts Rust Valley Restorers

TV show stars join quest to hone some fancy footwork

Highway 6 east of Lumby closed due to vehicle incident

Accident happened between McInnes Road and Rawlings Lake Road; detour in effect

Armstrong gathering for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Memorial Park gathering on June 22 will honour women with speakers and roundtable discussions

Okanagan Military Tattoo pleased with program

Sixth annual largest indoor show in Vernon runs July 27 and 28 at Kal Tire Place

North Okanagan car club annual show a huge hit with spectators

People didn’t mind the hot weather as they admired all kinds of vintage vehicles at 25th annual show

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

RAMA and Migrants Rights Network supporters protest for enhanced labour rights amongst migrant workers

‘I benefit from people who come and do the work that we can’t find other Canadians to do’

Michael McDonald to play in the Okanagan

The five-time Grammy Award winner has sold out Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

Fatal motorcycle crash in South Okanagan

Motorcycle operator drove into a barb wire fence on Enterprise Way before stopping

Top classic car show cruises back into the South Okanagan

Peach City Beach Cruise runs June 21 to 23 in Penticton

Rural Enderby adds wildfire protection

“The important message we would like to get out is that there are actions that people can take to make their homes less susceptible to the threat of wildfires”

Dangerous driving in Keremeos and Vernon nets jail time

Gary Patrick Richard will serve 73 days in jail for dangerous driving and other offences

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Most Read