Sailors restricted by dock renovations at Catalyst in Crofton

Visiting sailors on commercial vessels are now highly restricted in their movements entering and exiting the dock area.

Visiting sailors on commercial vessels tied up at Catalyst Paper’s Crofton pulp and paper mill are now highly restricted in their movements entering and exiting the dock area.

But a company spokeswoman said it’s for their safety, and the safety of others on the dock, as construction continues to upgrade the dock’s facilities.

Eduarda Hodgins, a spokeswoman for Catalyst Paper, said sailors are not prohibited from entering and exiting the dock area where the construction is taking place.

But they must be escorted through the construction site, and arrangements must be made beforehand with the shipping agent of the ship from which the sailors want to disembark, she said.

“We’re not going to apologize for making people safe,” Hodgins said.

“Safety is our number-one priority. It’s a large industrial site and we can’t have people just wandering around an active construction zone. They must be escorted if they want to get to and from their ships, and arrangements have to be made for that.”

People in the community have expressed concerns that the sailors were being prevented from visiting the surrounding communities to shop and relax while in port, as they have in the past.

Hodgins said the safety measures will remain in place until the construction on the dock is completed.

She said the policy will be reviewed at that time to determine if it should remain in place.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about safety of the sailors and everyone else who works on the dock,” Hodgins said.