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Sitka will let Greenpeace ship dock

Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

SITKA (AP) The Greenpeace ship Esperanza will be granted dock space when it arrives in Sitka on Saturday. City Administrator Hugh Bevan said the ship will be treated like any other transient vessel.

The ship has had trouble finding a place to dock in other Southeast communities it has visited as part of an Inside Passage tour to highlight concerns about large-scale logging in the Tongass National Forest.

Greenpeace was denied moorage in Ketchikan by borough officials and in Juneau by Goldbelt Inc., a Native corporation that owns dock space in the harbor.

Sitka Deputy Harbor Master Louis McCall said the city has space for the 283-foot Greenpeace vessel at the 350-foot port facility dock on Sitka Channel near Old Thomsen Harbor.

McCall said the Harbor Department has heard from a few Sitka residents asking that the city deny moorage to the environmental group.

''Some people have called, but we told them there's nothing we could do,'' McCall said. ''(The dock is) a public facility.''

Both Goldbelt and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough originally had granted Greenpeace approval to use their docks, but rescinded their commitments before the ship reached port.

In Juneau the ship eventually got approval from the city to dock for eight hours at a city dock.

Ketchikan officials cited space and security concerns in denying dock space, and Goldbelt claimed the environmental group had not paid an advance deposit. Greenpeace said Goldbelt had not asked for a deposit.



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