I am saddened by how the State of Alaska has been responding in the press to the grounding of the M/V LeConte. Alaska Department of Transportation spokesperson Nona Wilson's statements of May 19 in the Juneau Empire condemn the "100 percent unacceptable behavior" of the captain and chief mate on the bridge at the time, and vows to "solve the problem."
Why is there no mention of our ferry system's outstanding safety record over the last 40 years? What about these two sailors' more than 40 years of combined service and dedication to safety during their employment with AMHS? This seems to be a classic example of "Do something right and no one ever remembers, but do something wrong and no one ever forgets."
Yes, it was a very unfortunate incident, but the crew responded admirably to the emergency, there were no fatalities, and hopefully management will do everything in their power to minimize any inconvenience on the traveling public. I have worked for the AMHS for 16 years and I would be proud to sail with Capt. W. Harvey Williamson III or Capt. William Petrich any time.
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