13 FEB 2018: Officials in Petersburg, Alaska, are primed to pass a new fee for passengers on cruise ships visiting the borough. Petersburg's proposal is based on a similar charge in Juneau, which has prompted a lawsuit from the cruise ship industry.

The new ordinance would have the borough bill cruise ships based on number of passengers, each time a ship docks in Petersburg's harbours.

The new fee would be US $5 per passenger per visit. It wouldn't be charged to ships with fewer than 20 passengers or those without overnight accommodations.

The new fee needs one more assembly approval before it would take effect next year.

Some cruise companies that stop in Petersburg are not opposed to a fee but would like to see changes to the proposal.

UnCruise Adventures CEO Dan Blanchard said he has three issues with the proposal. He said he questions the timing and where the money collected from the fees will go, and cautions against discriminating against ships that might want to "make Petersburg their home."

Blanchard said his company has had 2019 prices out for about a year already and can't absorb the additional $5 fee. The company is coming out this winter with prices for 2020 and will factor in the proposed Petersburg fee, he said.

Lindblad Expeditions also has cruise stops in Petersburg on several National Geographic boats. It said the company supports "a fee that is fair, reasonable and allows time" to budget.

 

 

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