Cruise Ship Wake, incident
by Steven K. Shrum
May 16, 2005
Cruise Ship Industry: Dear Sir/Madam
What is your basic thought
when you see a cruise ship coming, do you think what a nice bonus
it going to be for our community, what a picturesque site, the
people on board are enjoying our forested islands, or do you
have a more realistic thought when you are a property owner in
Ward Cove with a floating facility.
Your thought should be when you see one of the ships traveling
eastbound, to quickly gather everything from your floating docks
and make sure you do not have a skiff or airplane in the water
tied to your facility. You should as rapidly as possible
put your airplane in the hangar or on your ramp because in 15
to 18 minutes from the time the Ship passes Channel Island you
are going to get hit with a massive wake that will put your life
at risk if you are standing on your floating dock.
Cruise Ship Wake, incident
I do not understand why every year we need to go through this
exercise. Every tourist season we start out with the same
pilots operating the ships. They are full aware what their
wake does as I personally have contacted numerous pilots along
with USCG Marine Safety who claimed to have talked to the pilots.
This year when I called the ship on channel 13, I inquired from
the pilot if he was behind schedule? His reply was that
they were not behind at all. After my inquiry as to why
he did not slow down, the pilot said he was controlling the ship
as directed by the pilots Association and was maintaining speed
for the traffic. This was a boldface lie as I witnessed
this ship traveling, eastbound in the, vicinity of Channel Island
with absolutely no traffic in sight. There is absolutely
no reason to think that one can get away with a statement like
this. It only causes greater animosity and exhibits the
cockiness and ignorance of the pilot.
Please review the photograph enclosed which exhibits what we
must put up with as your ships transverse Tongass Narrows.
This is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. I was standing
on the porch of my floating hangar and experienced water splash
in my face 7 1/2 feet from the ocean surface.
It is my thought that obviously this pilot has never Owned any
property and probably never will be the proprietor of a
floating facility that he must personally maintain and provide
protection of life and limb.
There are numerous aircraft operating in the vicinity of Ward
Cove that can very easily be upset taking off or landing.
I fear for my life if I, am caught with my back turned failing
to see this wake being generated. I will no doubt be swept overboard!
Last year with the cooperation of numerous Cruise Ship Pilots
(with a conscience) we enjoyed a relatively peaceful coexistence
with these oceangoing cities.
Now that the city has extended its boundaries it would seem prudent
that the Cruise Ship Industry recognize the hazards of their
actions by encouraging their pilots to proceed through Tongass
Narrows with excessive speeds causing dangerous situations while
operating within the city limits. It makes no difference
whatsoever what their attitude is as to where they should slow
down for their own personal gain. There is absolutely no
reason that these oceangoing cities do not slow down before they
reach Guard Island.
We have more boating every year with fishing charters targeting
the Guard Island and Clover Pass areas. These, areas are
greatly affected by the massive wake that the ships generate.
It is inevitable that you are going to cause a serious injury.
There are elderly people aboard the small charter boats who cannot
cope with the violence of your wake.
Your ship wake is catastrophically damaging, our pristine shoreline
when proceeding through the narrow passages at maximum speeds.
Your schedules should not prohibit you from taking into consideration
what you are doing to the environment that you are promoting.
Steven K. Shrum
Ketchikan, AK - USA
United States Coast Guard
City of Ketchikan Attorney
The Attorney General's Office
State of Alaska Governor
Pacific Log and Lumber
Environmental Protection Agency
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