Memo from Borough Manager Brad Ryan to Skagway Assembly, 9/14/22

The Municipality of Skagway (MOS) is diligently working with cruise lines and White Pass towards an alternative mooring plan for the 2023 cruise season that will ideally maintain a maximum of four ships in port. Currently, only the Railroad Dock can accommodate breakaway, oasis and royal class ships, some of which do not have the ability to tender passengers. The municipality needs to implement a contingency plan to accommodate these larger ships on the Ore Dock in case the rockslide risk is not lowered adequately to allow passengers and crew to be on the Railroad Dock. To achieve this contingency plan, the cruise lines, Southeast Pilots Association and White Pass need to sign off on the plan.

In general, the plan consists of bringing the breakaway, oasis and royal class ships into the Ore Dock and then bringing two smaller ships into the Railroad Dock and having them tender through the Small Boat Harbor. The Broadway Dock would remain the same. To implement this plan, a small portion of the wooden Ore Dock and ore loader would need to be removed and a temporary floating dock (spud barge) would be placed to offload passengers. Additional bollards and pilings would also be installed to increase the mooring capacity.

To determine the suitability and safety of the alternative mooring plan, we have engaged several ship captains, Southeast Alaska Pilots Association and the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies. A full mission bridge navigation study is scheduled for the first week of October and will assist in determining the feasibility of and parameters for mooring these larger class vessels at the Ore Dock.

The estimated implementation cost of the alternative mooring plan is $5.9 million. While $4.4 million of this cost is already included in the scope of the larger development project planned for the winter of 2023-2024, approximately $1.5 million would be additional costs.

Below is a rough schedule for the alternative mooring project:

1)  Design new mooring to accommodate breakaway, oasis and royal class ships at Ore (underway). 

2)  Engage cruise lines with mooring plan (underway).

3) Engage White Pass with plan (meeting scheduled for 9/15). A portion of this plan was first discussed at an administrative meeting with White Pass, and staff intends to continue to work with White Pass representatives to move this plan forward.

4)  Simulate docking with Southeast Pilots and cruise lines (Oct. 3 -7).

5)  Apply for expedited/emergency permits to complete the project prior to April 18, 2023.

6)  Procure pilings and fenders. (Request approval at Oct. 6 assembly meeting.)

7)  Rent or procure spud barge and transfer bridge. (Request approval at Oct. 20 assembly meeting.)

8)  Issue bid documents. (November 2022)

9)  Demo of the ore loader. (March 7, 2023)

10)  Begin construction in January 2023 to be completed by March 31, 2023.

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