Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Monday, September 17, 2007


Today Rep.Nancy Dahlstrom and I, along with a group of civic leaders and business people, toured the innards of the cruise ship Coral Princess docked in Whittier. The main purpose of the tour was to observe waste disposal equipment and procedures, as well as sanitary measures in food preparation, and the captain’s bridge. These areas of a cruise ship are rarely seen by passengers. Of course, we also took a look at the lavish public areas.

The tour was set up as a public relations event by the Alaska Cruise Association headed by our own John Binkley, who is president of the group. John comes from the Riverboat Discovery family of Fairbanks, is a former state representative, the Alaska Railroad, and recently a candidate for governor in the 2006 Republican primary. Current members of the Alaska Cruise Association include the following cruise ship operators: Celebrity, Carnival, Crystal, Holland America, Norweigan, Princess, Regent Seven Seas and Royal Caribbean.

According to the Cruise Association, more than half of Alaska’s visitors - almost 60 percent – come to our state on cruise ships. The cruise visitors have an annual $1.07 billion impact on Alaska, and the cruise industry provides 13,000 jobs for Alaskans. Obviously, the cruise ship segment of tourism is a major economic boost for Alaska.

There has been much public concern about waste disposal from cruise ships, and the need for “ocean rangers” to monitor waste disposal, etc. aboard cruise ships. It was a hot legislative topic in the legislature, particularly in light of the cruise ship initiative that passed. My position - and votes – was to honor the people’s will as expressed in the initiative (including the ocean rangers), but to implement the initiative in a practical manner. I think we did that.

The amount of waste water created by cruise ship operations is staggering. The Alaska Cruise Ship Association told us that a one week cruise generates about 1 million gallons of grey water (sinks, showers, laundry, etc), 210,000 gallons of black water (toilets, etc.), and 35,000 of bilge water (contaminated water that gathers at the bottom of the ship). That doesn’t include ballast water. In 2007, 24 of the 28 ships operating in Alaska waters have advanced wastewater treatment systems; the four that do not, don’t discharge (or not supposed to) in Alaska waters. According to the Cruise Ship Association claims the water discharged from cruise ships in Alaska is much cleaner than water released from most city wastewater treatment plants. Whatever, cruise ships makes up just 2/10ths of 1 percent of all ocean going vessels worldwide. What about the other ocean going ships that ply Alaska waters?

I found the tour worthwhile and enlightening. The basic logistics of safely and effectively operating a cruise ship with almost 2,000 passengers plus crew is mind-boggling. Just the galley operations, I was told, have 400 food preparers plus 400 various types of food servers.

The cruise ship industry - along with the oil producers, mining, fisheries, and other industries – are critical to growing Alaska’s economy - they are not our enemies. But, in the words of our beloved President Ronald Reagan, “Trust but verify.”

Top photo: Rep. Lynn with the ship captain, and John Binkley. Middle photo: Lt. Marco shows clean water taken from filtration system. Bottom photo: Boarding the bus after the tour for the ride back to Anchorage.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Rep. Lynn for your comment. You have aligned, though, throughout with the party that is so thick in all this scandal. Republicans in Alaska have brought us secretive government, scandal, and lost the public inconceivable tax dollars by siding with the oil companies, which may prove to be the big voice behind VECO. I wonder what was said in your time in the VECO lounge. I hope you are opposed in the next election.

11:30 PM  

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