Ship part

Rockslide damages cruise dock at Skagway, forcing ship to skip port call

A rockslide on Thursday morning closed the cruise ship dock in Skagway, prompting a ship to skip that port altogether.

Part of the wharf was damaged in the slide just before 6:30 a.m., according to Jacqui Taylor, spokeswoman for wharf owners White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. No one was injured as the landslide knocked rocks, dirt and vegetation down a mountainside above the wharf.

There were no passengers disembarking at the time, Taylor said. Railroad geotechnical engineers were assessing the damage Thursday afternoon.

Four cruise ships slated for the dock made alternate plans on Thursday, the company said. The Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas, which can hold almost 5,000 passengers, deviated from Skagway on Thursday morning. The Discovery Princess, with a maximum capacity of around 4,600 people, repositioned and planned to carry passengers to the small craft harbor by tender.

About a dozen cruise ships use the dock each week to stop in the southeast Alaskan city, known for its historic buildings preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The railway runs vintage locomotives from Skagway.

“Alaska’s White Pass and Cruise Line agencies are working with our cruise partners to retrofit ships scheduled for this weekend,” Taylor wrote in an email. “Vessels can moor at the south end of the railroad wharf and offer guests a short distance from Skagway’s small craft harbor.”

The Borough of Skagway Municipality does not own the wharf and was not involved in the landslide response Thursday, according to Borough Manager Brad Ryan.