New fees for St. John's port security

Andrew Robinson
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24-7 surveillance for piers handling offshore supply vessels

There will be a new security charge for vessels docking in St. John's harbour at piers 9-11 and 17-18. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

The St. John's Port Authority (SJPA) will soon introduce new security charges to cover the cost of having personnel on site 24/7 for piers that predominately serve offshore supply vessels.

The security personnel charge will only apply to vessels using piers 9 to 11 (known collectively as the Marginal Wharf) and 17 and 18. Piers 9 to 11 are set to have a new fence built for what the port authority has called safety and security reasons. Piers 17 and 18 are located close to The Battery area of St. John's.

Charge covers 12 hours

The charge will cover a 12-hour period or part thereof and will vary according to the size of a vessel. Those weighing more than 20,000 tonnes will be charged at a rate of $275 per 12-hour period.

There are five weight ranges in all, with the lowest for vessels weighing 2,000 tonnes or less set to charge $50 per 12-hour period.

Security plan is mandatory: port authority CEO

The new charge is set to come into effect Aug. 1.

Because SJPA is subject to the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code as a Canadian port authority, port authority CEO Sean Hanrahan says it must have a security plan in place. Transport Canada gave its approval to that plan two months ago.

"The two areas that we've designated as secure areas are mainly used - at least to an 80 per cent usage - by the offshore supply vessels, and those are vessels that under the (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) must have security personnel present at the gate where they berth as well as on the vessels themselves for the entire time that they're in port."

Most offshore supply vessels range in weight from 2,000 to 5,000 tonnes. Thus, the majority of those vessels can expect to pay $100 per 12-hour period of their stay in port.

Security personnel set to be paid through the new charge will be contracted out by the port authority. Private security is already in use at those piers, but the new charges will help expand that service, according to Hanrahan.

"It's simply a pass through of cost that we undertake, and we don't build in any profit whatsoever," said Hanrahan. "We don't even charge an administration fee."

He emphasized that revenue generated through the security personnel charge will not be used for capital projects at the port.

Hanrahan said the port authority consulted with local operators - Statoil, Suncor, Husky Energy, ExxonMobil, and Chevron - and has their approval to proceed with implementing the new charge.

"They agreed with the need for 24-7 security, and they agreed that they're willing to pay for it," he said.

A gatehouse currently exists at piers 17 and 18 that will accommodate security personnel. The Marginal Wharf already has 24-7 security in place. The harbour authority plans to build a gatehouse for that site.

A public notice about the new charge was published in The Telegram over the weekend in order to comply with a 60-day notice period. SJPA will receive comments on the proposed charge before it is formally implemented.

The Telegram attempted to reach Paul Barnes, Atlantic Canada manager for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, but he was flying to western Canada on Tuesday. Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: St. John's Port Authority, Transport Canada, Statoil Husky Energy Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Geographic location: St. John's, Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • Ed Barbour
    May 23, 2013 - 19:02

    I don't blame the Port Authority for wanting or asking the city taxpayers to pay for the security fence. I blame the idiots we elected to our city council for agreeing to do it. Why do you suppose these people once elected and spending other peoples money use it to fund things they would never spend their own money on? Especially "Doc" O"Keefe We need to remove them all from office after one term before they get to do too much damage.

  • Blair
    May 22, 2013 - 14:18

    The Port Authority really do a good job of sherking their own responsibilities. It was mind boggling that they hoodwinked the City of St. John's into having taxpayers pay for half the cost of a fence to fence the federal property bearing in mind that the Port makes millions of dollars in profits. So now they are going to have the security employees working on Port property paid for by someone else. Maybe this is a new concept the province should look at, user pay for the RNC and RCMP, use their service , you pay..

  • Political Watcher
    May 22, 2013 - 07:58

    So you should no longer require taxpayer money to build the fence?