“Improved” Harbor Safety Is Nonsense

Letter to Editor:

We applauded improvement of security of our air travel with better technology and more personnel. We feel much safer after the new arrangements. In the beginning, we thought that also security changes in our harbor will be positive. What a mistake!

St. Thomas and St. John ferry harbors got steel barriers and personnel opening and closing these barriers. We also got much higher transportation charges and, in addition, new charges for luggage. The departing and arriving procedure now: 1) Wait in a line for tickets. 2) Wait in a second line before the gate which remains closed until the ferry starts loading. Both lines of passengers stand in full sun. When the gate opens, tickets are taken by the man handling the gate. This is all for “security” – take tickets. Nobody is checking anything except tickets which are of course no security risks.

Nobody understands what changed in security arrangement except for utter displeasure of the passengers and markedly increased transportation costs. Tickets can be removed at the boat entrance as they were before and luggage can be handled much better with the previous procedure because now, nobody can go to the pier to help the arriving and departing passengers to carry their luggage. Nobody is checking for possible terrorists, guns or bombs.

Please think about this complete nonsense: it markedly increases the passenger discomfort (lines, luggage), does absolutely nothing for security and costs salaries of several new employees who do nothing else than what the ferry personnel did before. Of course they feel that they are important because they can command passengers to stand here, not there. Passengers pay much higher price, get more discomfort and contribution to “security” is zero.

We believe that a real improvement of security should be done differently: Radio connection of the vessel with the security center, locked and barred access to the command cabin and a stand-by boat for eventual rescue in case of accident. Permitting guns for selected personnel on the boat would be similar to the arrangement the aircraft pilots have. I hope that some of this is taking place already but the present “security” as we see it as passengers is ridiculous, expensive and annoying.

Z. & J. Hruza
St. John