Another rockslide caused damage to the popular White Pass Railroad Dock in Skagway, Alaska. The incident happened around 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, when several cruise ships were in port.
No injuries were reported and no cruise ships were damaged. Still Norwegian was moored at the dock at the time and pulled away from the dock as a precaution.
Landslide on the north side
The rockslide, described by witnesses as “small but noisy”, occurred on the north side of the wharf area and dropped significant debris. It was in the same general area where a larger slip occurred on June 23. This prior landslide caused damage to the pier and minor cosmetic damage to Discovery Princesswhich was moored at the time.
Neither cruise ship was damaged in the latest slide, but the safety cabin on the pier was hit. Emergency vehicles responded within minutes should their services be required.
Still Norwegian was moored at the pier at the time the slip occurred, having called on Skagway as part of the ship‘s current 7-night round trip from Seattle, Washington. Skagway was the ship’s second port of call after Juneau on August 2.
Out of an abundance of caution, Still Norwegian pulled away from the pier shortly after the rockslide, and the approximately 1,800 guests who were still waiting to re-board the ship after their day at Skagway were returned to the ship.
The 167,800 gross tons Still Norwegian has a capacity of 3,998 people in double occupancy.
Holland America Line MS Noordam helped with the tender. Noordam currently sailing a 7 night one way trip from Whittier, Alaska in Vancouver, Canada.
No damage was caused to Still Norwegian, and the Breakaway Plus-class vessel continued on without delay in her itinerary. In the same way, Noordam was in good condition and had no delays when leaving Skagway that evening.
In addition to Still Norwegian and MS NoordamPrincess Cruises’ majestic princess and Royal Caribbean International The shine of the seas were also visiting Skagway at the time of the landslide. Because these ships were moored in different areas well away from the White Pass railroad wharf, there was no change in their operations.
Skagway is one of the most popular cruise destinations in Alaskaoffering amazing shore sightseeing options as well as fun local culture to explore and learn about.
State of the slope considered unstable
After the June 23 landslide, geotechnical and environmental consulting firm Shannon & Wilson was commissioned to examine the area adjacent to the wharf. The company looked at past landslide events, the current condition of the slopes and the mitigation efforts already in place, before determining the “significant” risk for future landslides.
The the entire wharf has been temporarily closed while additional safety measures have been put in place and the slope has been scaled to reduce the risk of further slips. After adjustments, including changes to the location of walkways for cruise ships, the wharf was reopened on July 5.
However, the risk of rockslide clearly remains and additional quay developments are underway at Skagway to accommodate cruise ships in safer berths.
At this time, there have been no reported changes to cruise ship itineraries due to this latest slide. This is the busiest time of Alaska’s short cruise season, and ships visit Skagway every day.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Viking, Silversea Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and others all have calls scheduled for Skagway in August.
Passengers booked on upcoming voyages should stay in contact with their cruise line to confirm port visits and other itinerary changes, particularly if Skagway is on schedule.