Greenpeace ship headed to Juneau, denied dock space

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2003

Representatives of the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace will stop in Juneau today as part of a public relations campaign against logging in the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.

But the M/V Esperanza (Spanish for hope), a Greenpeace ship, will not be allowed to dock at Goldbelt's Seadrome Marina, as earlier planned.

Greenpeace representatives are traveling through Southeast on the "Endangered Forests, Endangered Freedoms" tour to document and raise awareness about the impacts of logging.

The campaign also focuses on efforts by the Bush Administration to overturn the Roadless Area Conservation Rule in the Tongass and Chugach. Exempting the two Alaska forests from the "Roadless Rule" would open them up to road building, logging and mining.

Greenpeace representatives will give tours of the Esperanza on Saturday and Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.

Rose Young, deputy campaign director for Greenpeace, said she reserved dock space at the Seadrome Marina in July. But on Aug. 13, marina manager Jeff White said it would not be available for the 236-foot ship.

"I asked him, 'Have you been under any pressure (to deny dock space for the Esperanza)," Young said. "He said, 'All I can tell you is the berth is unavailable.' "

White directed all inquiries about the issue to Goldbelt Inc. Calls to Goldbelt were sent to Joanne Wiita, who described herself as "a Goldbelt employee."

She said dock space was denied to the Esperanza because members of Greenpeace did not provide a deposit to reserve the spot.

"There's really not much of a story," Wiita said. "Goldbelt offers moorage on a first-come, first-served basis, and payment secures the moorage space."

But Young, who made arrangements for the Esperanza, said she was never asked for a deposit.

When asked about Young's claim, Wiita repeated Goldbelt's moorage policy statement.

Nancy Hwa, a media officer for Greenpeace, said the Esperanza will anchor the ship south of Douglas Bridge in Gastineau Channel, and smaller boats will ferry passengers back and forth from Marine Park.

Juneau isn't the first panhandle city where the ship has been denied dock space.

Earlier this month, the ship was denied docking rights in Ketchikan, and the city passed a resolution encouraging local businesses to exercise their freedom to deny service to Greenpeace members.

"We knew everyone was not going to welcome us with open arms," Hwa said. "But we met a lot of people who came out with support."

The Ketchikan Daily News reported on Aug. 8 that six officers of the Federal Protective Service within the Department of Homeland Security were assigned to protect the Federal Building in Ketchikan because of the arrival of the group. Officers told the paper that it would follow the group to any city that contains federal property.

"It's a sad commentary on how the government is treating citizens," Hwa said. "People should be concerned about this waste of taxpayer money."

The Esperanza is scheduled to leave Juneau on Aug. 28. It will head to Hoonah and Sitka.

• Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at timothyi@juneauempire.com.



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