Concerned Boater Questions Port Security Measures

Letter to the Editor:

I wanted to take this paragraph to congratulate the security working throughout Carnival on St. John, especially last week at the United States Port of Entry in the Cruz Bay Creek.

Prudent mariners and observant land lovers might have noticed a new boat in the creek during the last week of Carnival. No, it wasn’t a “go fast” powerboat with a monthly parking permit tied to the abandoned car barge, or a passenger ferry stern to shore having work done on it. It was a Homeland Security vessel and it had a VIP tag hanging from the rear view mirror so it could park on the Customs dock all week long.

Standing on the dock were some intimidating looking men sporting black uniforms and just as black but a bit more shiny, automatic rifles. Congratulations to these men/women for protecting our harbor from illegal immigrants and contraband.

They boarded every boat going through customs to search closed hatches for people as well as drugs. As a result not a single boat tried to unload a boat full of illegal immigrants or bricks of weed all week at the customs dock. It was a logistical nightmare for Port Authority as they tried to figure how they were supposed to get all the charter boats onto the dock each afternoon. Normally the dock holds two boats but with the new long term parking boat tied up only had room for one.

Well, it would have been a nightmare if Port Authority had decided to leave their air-conditioned trailer and deal with it. There was a little more room all week as the “Star of Life” changed locations and moved across the harbor to the end of the National Park Dock but the extra room was not on the actual customs dock. The new spot was an excellent location, far superior to the other option in the harbor which would have been the old car ferry dock space. Let’s think about this for a minute, the old car ferry space is easily accessible to an ambulance, immediately located off a major road, and has parking for emergency vehicles to use while attending to the operation of the Star of Life vessel. Oh, wait those are all good reasons to dock there. I guess we will disregard those and park across the bay where none of those previous statements are true.

After all, using the old car ferry dock space would require those “go fast” boats to move and give up their VIP docking spots. You can park boats there but not cars which would provide desperately needed parking spots. Back to the Customs dock…

Fortunately for our boat we had read our chart and knew that the Cruz Bay customs dock was not the place to bring these illegal goods. We had already dropped our cargo off at Brown Bay earlier in the morning and were simply going to the gas dock! If those officers actually found anything illegal it would baffle my mind as to the captains reasoning behind going to the dock. First Mate: “Capt, I see men with guns standing on the dock used to enter the United States of America are you sure this is where we are supposed to drop off our cargo hidden under the seat cushions?”

Capt: “Well, I think those are toy guns, let’s give it a shot anyway.”

My suggestion to Customs and Border Patrol:
Rent a powerboat for a full day, explore Norman Island around the Caves and the Indians in morning and while you are there write down the names and registration numbers of the boats you see. It shouldn’t be tough, they are written on the hulls and sterns of the boats. Then grab your snorkel gear and enjoy the sights. After that, head over to White Bay on JVD. Do the same thing with your pen and paper. Return to Cruz Bay and clear U.S. Customs. Wait till 6 p.m. and then compare your list with the list Ms. Christopher has after her days work. I would be willing to bet you will find more illegal activity in one afternoon than those scary looking men with guns found all week!

Concerned Boater