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AMHS Incorporates National Maritime Security Plan
Increases In Port, Harbor & Vessel Security Will be Noticeable


June 26, 2004

Juneau, Alaska - The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is responding to new federal regulations requiring increased port, harbor and vessel security. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced Monday that some 3,200 port facilities, 9,500 vessels and 40 off-shore oil and natural gas rigs must comply with new requirements under the Maritime Transportation Security Act and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code by the July 1, 2004 deadline.

photo AMHS vessels Ketchikan, Alaska

The Marine Highway's vessels Mantanuska and Columbia - Ketchikan, Alaska
File photo by Carl Thompson ©2004

AMHS General Manager John Falvery says security increases will be noticeable, but not inconvenient. "Ticket holders will notice new procedures and equipment, but should be able to go about their usual business as they travel," said Falvery. Passenger, vehicle and cargo screening is another requirement under the national security plan. "Screening is part of the program and we're training our security officers to be thorough and efficient, yet considerate and respectful of people's privacy," he added.

Many security measures will be physical improvement such as better lighting in terminals and parking lots, closed circuit cameras on car decks and checking in firearms. "Our intention is not to hassle anyone, but rather to increase the safety of our passengers, crew and assets," said Nona Wilson, Alaska DOT's Public Information Officer. "The alternative is a federal shutdown of our entire system, which would be disastrous for many communities and AMHS. In a broader sense, I think many people using our system will feel more comfortable knowing that the Marine Highway has enhanced its security structure to protect their safety."

The Marine Highway's fleet of nine vessels currently serves 34 ports of call in Southwest and Southeast Alaska including ports of call in Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Sitka and Juneau. Ports of calls also include Bellingham, Washington and Prince Rupert, Canada. A tenth ship, the Fast Vehicle Ferry Chenega, is expected to begin service in Prince William Sound next spring.



Source of News:

Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities
Web Site


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