SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The following joint statement was issued on behalf of Premier Blaine Higgs and Port Saint John CEO Craig Bell Estabrooks:

As a result of the fire at the American Iron and Metal (AIM) premises on Sept. 14, a meeting was held this morning between senior levels of the provincial government and Port Saint John.

The government and Port Saint John agreed as follows:

  • The government and Port Saint John will appoint a joint task force to investigate the latest events at AIM, to examine all aspects of the situation.

In addition to the previous, the following events occurred:

  • Under Sections 5 and 19 of Port Authorities Operations Regulations (SOR/2000-55, Canada Marine Act), Port Saint John has restricted activities at the terminal where the fire occurred; only emergency operations directly related to stabilizing the site are permitted. These instructions will remain in place until the investigation is complete.
  • Port Saint John is also investigating AIM's compliance with the terms and conditions of their lease.
  • The government has suspended AIM's approval to operate and directed it to cease activities until a full investigation and review is complete.

“The Province of New Brunswick remains committed to ensuring that a full and thorough investigation will take place,” said Higgs. “We are very thankful no one was injured or hurt at the site during the incident. All operations at AIM continue to be suspended. The citizens of Saint John and our province deserve answers, and we will work diligently to provide them. I have directed the clerk of the Executive Council, Cheryl Hansen, to work with Port Saint John on the task force. As there are multiple departments and arms of government involved to effectively investigate this situation with AIM, it was deemed appropriate that the clerk would be best positioned to lead the government of New Brunswick side of the task force.”

“First and foremost, community safety is paramount to us, as well as being a good neighbour to the people of Saint John,” said Bell Estabrooks. “Since signing the lease with the operator of this site in 2011, many things have changed. Port Saint John never envisioned the series of explosions, fires, accidents and tragic deaths that have occurred. We are steadfast in our commitment to the health and safety of our community.”