Posted: Friday, June 08, 2001

Sheltered Seas back in business

JUNEAU - The day cruiser Sheltered Seas, which lost power in one of its two engines in Tracy Arm on Wednesday evening, is again plying its route for Alaska Sightseeing/Cruise West.

The captain of the 90-foot vessel decided to transfer his 39 passengers to another vessel, the Keet, early Thursday, rather than travel with them aboard while proceeding from calm into rough waters. The Sheltered Seas then returned to Juneau. A port engine after-cooler was shipped in from Spokane, said Maureen Camandona, a public relations officer for Cruise West's Seattle office.

"We thought it would take two hours to replace, and it took that, minus six minutes," Camandona said. The Sheltered Seas left Juneau at 1 a.m. today and reached the Petersburg fuel dock about 8 a.m. The 39 passengers reboarded this morning and will go on to Ketchikan as scheduled for their four-day southbound cruise. They will overnight in Ketchikan and then fly home or continue on a land tour, she said.

"The vessel and passengers were never in immediate distress, but the vessel's captain chose a safer course of action by dispatching passengers to another vessel," said Capt. Rob Lorigan, captain of the port for Southeast Alaska. "This case certainly highlights the importance of vessels having appropriate communications, particularly when operating in such remote areas as Tracy Arm."

Ship cancels two trips for repairs

ANCHORAGE - Operators of the cruise ship Infinity canceled two June cruises to Alaska ports after metal shards showed up in the ship's oil filter.

The seven-day cruises were set to sail out of Vancouver today and June 15, visiting Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. More than 2,000 people were booked on each cruise, said a spokesman for Celebrity Cruises, part of the Miami-based Royal Caribbean cruise line. The 965-foot Infinity should be back in service by June 22, according to Celebrity.

Representatives of the coastal communities said that while the cancellations are only a small part of the summer's business, the loss in tourism revenues will be noticed.

John Mazor, president of the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the two days the ship does not spend in Juneau will mean a loss of revenue of more than half a million dollars. He said the city and borough of Juneau will lose more than $18,000 in sales tax revenue on that half-million.

Celebrity has 40 additional cruises to Alaska scheduled for the rest of the summer.

Alaska Highway reopens in Canada

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Highway was reopened Thursday, two days after a section was closed near Watson Lake in Canada following a culvert collapse.

The Canadian government replaced the culvert that collapsed Tuesday with a temporary structure that is allowing traffic access. Canadian officials said they don't know whether the collapse had anything to do with heavy rainfalls recently, or whether it was a structural problem.

The road closure caused delays and lengthy detours. Officials said people can still expect delays, but much shorter ones.

School lunch prices increase

JUNEAU - The Juneau School District has raised the price of milk and school lunches for next school year, but the new prices don't apply to students who get lunches for free or at a reduced rate.

The cost of a district-supplied cold lunch, which includes a container of milk, will increase from $2.50 to $2.75. The price of milk sold separately from a lunch will go up from 30 cents to 40 cents.

The district loses money on the lunches, which are supplied by a private contractor. It pays $2.89 per lunch with milk, and charges $2.50 and collects 33 cents in reimbursement from the state - leaving it 6 cents in the hole.

The price increases also will to help defray the costs of free lunches that are ordered in advance by students but not picked up, the district said. The state doesn't reimburse the district in those cases.

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