My Turn: City was accommodating

Posted: Sunday, September 07, 2003

There continues to be some concern and misinformation on the part of some of our citizens regarding the hospitality that was extended to Greenpeace by the City and Borough when the vessel Esperanza was in Juneau. Every courtesy was extended to Greenpeace while they were here.

They were offered the opportunity to use our docks and facilities, when available, anytime during their stay. Most of the time the docks were occupied during the day by cruise ships that had already reserved the space a year in advance. We provided them with water, free use of the Marine Park Lightering Float, and a booth on the dock from which they could distribute literature and talk to folks.

A letter to Greenpeace from John Stone, port director, clearly delineates the use of our facilities and the open hospitality that was offered to Greenpeace during their visit to Juneau.

Stone's letter of Aug. 20 reads as follows:

On Aug. 18 you (Greenpeace) requested the use of CBJ's dock facilities for the M/V Esperanza. We understand the Esperanza will arrive on Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. and depart on Aug. 27 at 7 a.m.

As you know, we do not have space at our downtown docks to tie-up your vessel during the entire length of your stay. Upon arriving in Juneau, we recommend that you anchor in the anchorage area by the Douglas Bridge. You are welcome to use the Marine Park Lightering Float for embarking and disembarking passengers, visitors, and cargo during the time you are at anchor.

You requested to take on potable water at some time during your stay. We can accommodate your request at the Alaska Steamship Dock on Aug. 24.

You requested to tie-up to one of the cruise ship docks during your stay to hold open houses and press conferences. The docks are not available on Aug. 23 as you requested due to prior cruise ship bookings. The Alaska Steamship Dock is available as you requested on Aug. 24 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. However, prior to granting approval for use of this dock, we need you to provide the following information.

1. Information showing that a marine pilot will be under contract to move the ship back to anchor at the debarkation time. This is to assure that your vessel will not interfere with the operations of the M/V Amsterdam on the morning of Aug. 25.

2. A description of your gangway plan. The elevation of the Steamship Dock may materially differ from the elevation of your debarkation dock. We want to make sure that the gangway system is secure.

3. The Alaska Steamship Dock is subject to the U.S. Coast Guard's passenger terminal security requirements. Further, you will be sharing the docks with the M/V Summit, a 965-cruise ship carrying 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew. The U.S. Coast Guard recommended that you provide me with a plan for providing security while tied to the Alaska Steamship Dock. The plan should include provisions for controlling and screening visitors and cargo while tied to the Alaska Steamship Dock. The plan also should identify the person on-board who is responsible for implementing these procedures and communicating with my security staff.

You asked to conduct "free-speech" activities on our docks during your stay in Juneau. We have two "free-speech" areas on our docks and can accommodate this request.

I recommend that you and the master of the Esperanza contact me at (907) 586-0294 as soon as possible to discuss this letter.

Signed, John M. Stone, P.E., Port Director.

Rod Swope is city manager of Juneau.

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