Major cruise port in Alaska threatened by catastrophic landslide

Major cruise port in Alaska threatened by catastrophic landslide

Recently in the spotlight , located in the city of Skagway, Alaska (Skagway, Alaska). Several liners of the largest cruise companies stop here every day, passengers disembark and go on land excursions.

The concern of the authorities and the public is caused by the fact that part of the dock in the port is located at the foot of a mountain and a rock formation, which, according to in the words of experts, “will eventually collapse.” The latest forecast is quite fresh — it is dated July 2022.

According to a report by Shannon and Wilson, the rocks threatening the port rise more than 180 meters above the pier. The collapse of the cliff will have catastrophic consequences: it threatens both the pier itself in the port, as well as coastal businesses and the numerous passengers who gather at the foot of the hill every day during the busiest months of the cruise season.

This area has been hit by landslides before , with two of them occurring in the fall of 2017. This June there was another rockfall. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

However, geologists note that the movement of rocks has accelerated recently, and predict a much larger “failure” rock formations.

The report says that the “only reasonable option” today is a controlled evacuation of part of the port.

However, for the city this is a very difficult decision — cruise industry — it is the livelihood of the population, even those residents who rely on day trips of passengers in the port. Moreover, there have been practically no cruises for the past two summers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Municipal leaders do not have the authority to close the pier, which is under threat — it is owned by White Pass and the Yukon Railroad, a company that operates rail excursions from the port.

Alaska's cruising season begins to fade in mid-September but continues into October. But any cardinal decisions on the safety of ships and passengers can only be made by the 2023 season.  

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