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Cablegate: Halifax Port Authority Sees Security As Job One

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HALIFAX 000349

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT ASEC PTER SNAR CASC CA
SUBJECT: HALIFAX PORT AUTHORITY SEES SECURITY AS JOB ONE

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Halifax Port Authority officials stressed
to Ambassador Cellucci during his recent visit that security has
been and will continue to be a top priority at the port, whether
for containers or for cruise ships and their -- mainly American
-- passengers. HPA is interested in participating in "Operation
Safe Commerce." END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Ambassador and Consul General met October 10 with
the chairman and senior executives of the Halifax Port Authority
to receive a briefing on port operations and to see at first
hand how the port is addressing security issues. Chairman Al
Abraham and CEO Karen Oldfield stressed that as its business
grows the HPA sees security -- for containers as well as for
cruise ships and their passengers -- as a top priority. VP for
Marketing Patricia McDermott noted that the port had been
successful in attracting new shipping business -- total
containerized cargo was up over 10% from last year -- as well as
cruise ship visits, which have more than doubled in five years.
Most of th passengers are Americans.

3. (SBU) VP for Operations and Security George Malec said that
the port's focus on security predated September 11, 2001. Well
before that time the HPA had a contract with the Halifax
Regional Municipality to provide police services for the port,
an arrangement that Malec characterized as unique. As a result
of the HPA/HRM agreement, the port has immediate access to the
full resources of the Halifax police department. The port also
coordinates security with Canadian federal government entities
including the RCMP.

4. (SBU) All of the HPA officials stressed their interest in
ensuring that any U.S. concerns about security at the port were
resolved promptly. "We want you to feel comfortable" about the
port, Abraham said. Malec said that the HPA welcomed the
presence of U.S. officials to implement the Container Security
Initiative, and that the VACIS system was operating well.
Oldfield noted that about 5% of containers coming through
Halifax were physically screened, a rate she contrasted to
competitor Montreal's level of about 3%. Oldfield also said
that the port wanted to be involved in Operation Safe Commerce
(OSC) if at all possible.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The port's management team is impressive,
and certainly seems dedicated to addressing any concerns that
the USG might have about security issues. HPA's willingness to
participate in port security initiatives such as OSC could prove
useful as we move U.S.-based innovations abroad. END COMMENT.

HILL

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