Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2006

Allen Marine ordered to draft safety plan

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JUNEAU - Following Thursday's grounding of an Allen Marine tour vessel in north Sitka Sound - the company's third grounding in two months - the Coast Guard cracked down on the Sitka-based company.

The Coast Guard announced Thursday afternoon that Allen Marine must submit a comprehensive safety plan within 24 hours. The plan includes a safety stand-down for all Allen Marine operations staff in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.

During the stand-down, operators and senior management must discuss safety and procedural changes to prevent accidents, according to the Coast Guard.

Sixteen tour passengers were evacuated from the Keel, a 48-foot catamaran owned by Allen Marine, on Thursday morning.

The Coast Guard dispatched a cutter, a helicopter and two small boats after the Keel's 9:30 a.m. hard grounding near the Siginaka Islands. No injuries were reported.

Gwich'in leader dead at age 74

ANCHORAGE - Gwich'in leader Jonathon Solomon, who for decades helped lead the fight to keep oil drilling out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, died Thursday. He was 74.

Solomon died at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage after an illness, said Luci Beach, executive director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee, representing about 8,000 members of the Gwich'in Nation in Canada and northeast Alaska.

"Jonathon was an incomparable strategist, culturally very knowledgeable, and someone who cared deeply about the Gwich'in Nation," Beach said.

Solomon was born on March 10, 1932, in Fort Yukon.

He was drawn into the political arena in the 1960s when he fought a proposal to dam the Yukon River, a project that would have flooded 10 old Athabaskan villages on the Yukon Flats, Beach said.

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