Cablegate: Halifax Port Security Contnues to Tighten

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: (A) 04 HALIFAX 134 (B) 03 HALIFAX 349

1. (U) While Ottawa has yet to follow through on its May 7
pledge of federal funding for Canadian Marine Facility Security,
the Port of Halifax has ambitiously pressed forward with a
series of new security measures using its own funding. These
measures place the Port in the forefront of Canadian maritime
security and on a par with its stateside counterparts. The Port
of Halifax receives roughly 200,000 cruise ship passengers a
year - 95 percent U.S. citizens - and transships over 4 million
tons of containerized cargo a year - a significant percentage
destined for U.S. markets.
2. (SBU) In a recent conversation, Port of Halifax Vice
President for Operations and Security George Malec and
newly-hired manager of Marine Security Gord Helm, discussed
current and ongoing efforts to enhance security at the Port of
Halifax. All efforts are being funded out of the Port's own
operating budget. The Port has met IMO ISPS Code requirements
and is currently undergoing certification by Transport Canada
for the more stringent Canadian Marine Transportation Security
Act - on a par with U.S. standards under the Marine
Transportation Security Act.
3. (SBU) Passenger: The passenger (cruise ship) facilities of
the Port are fenced off with camera surveillance. To enter or
exit the secure area alongside cruise ships, passengers must
present both id cards and boarding passes. Trucks with
provisions are now prohibited from pulling up alongside ships.
There is also a 24-hour police presence of at least two
officers. Malec described this situation as unique for a
Canadian port. Other ports, he stated, rely on PILT (policing
in lieu of taxation), which provides no-charge police protection
on an-on-call, as-available basis. Halifax, on the other hand,
pays for a constant police presence and, as they are police,
allows for armed officers who can respond with deadly force if
4. (SBU) Container: Halifax Port also pays for a constant
police presence at its two cargo terminals. No containers are
allowed to leave the facilities without the papers being checked
by an officer. (This procedure was implemented following the
disappearance of a targeted cargo container this past summer.)
In addition, the Port is in discussions with Transport Canada -
its supervisory body - over its plan to acquire radiation ion
detection units for each of the cargo terminal piers. The goal
is that, once implemented. no container will leave the port
without being scanned.
5. (SBU) General: The Port has purchased an all-weather patrol
boat, which has been turned over to the police for use. The
boat is identical to boats used by DND, to provide for
interoperability. The police are already manning the boat and
undergoing final marine certifications. Both Malec and Marine
Security Director Helm described cooperation between the port,
coast guard, and navy as excellent. Helm, a former naval
officer, is in the process of drafting an operations and safety
plan for the harbor, to further enhance the cooperation.
Looking forward, they discussed the soon-to-begin process of
security clearances for all port employees. Background checks
will be conducted by CSIS and the information forwarded by
Transport Canada to Port authorities for clearance decisions.
6. (SBU) Malec, in particular, stressed the level of cooperation
between the Port and stateside authorities. Malec himself spent
a large part of the past summer in visits with officials from
the U.S. Coast Guard and the ports in New York, Boston, and
Baltimore. Malec spoke with approval of the recently-formed
Nova Scotia association of small ports, (Sydney, Pictou,
Parrsboro, Sheet Harbor, Shelburne, and Yarmouth) saying Halifax
would be happy to consult and provide advice, but could offer no
funding. Port security in Nova Scotia, he said, is only as
strong as the weakest of the various ports' security.

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