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Cops, Airline Aid Missing Passenger

Victoria Harbour

Sometimes, it’s just nice to be able to tell a nice story. Like the one that appeared this week in The Province, one of Vancouver’s two daily newspapers, about a passenger who went missing from Jewel of the Seas.

The 65-year-old woman disembarked in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, in mid-morning earlier this month. When the ship was ready to leave for Seattle late that afternoon, the final leg of a week-long Alaska cruise, there was no sign of her. Eventually, after waiting a reasonable time as ship captains are wont to do, Jewel of the Seas had to leave.

Police in Victoria contacted the woman’s family in Buffalo and discovered she had been having symptoms of dementia. Disoriented, she showed up in a downtown hotel and police took her to a nearby hospital to be assessed.

All’s well that ends well, right?

The story gets better. 

One of the cops, Constable Andre Almeida, arranged for her to fly to Seattle in time for her scheduled flight home to New York. He paid for the flight on his own credit card with the idea that he’d be able to cover it with his “points.” And when he was asked about doing that, the constable issued this statement:

“There was no other way to ensure she would make it back home. She needed help. It could be my mom stranded somewhere and I would hope someone would help.”

There’s more.

After a night in hospital, the woman was taken to the airport by the police for her Alaska Airlines flight. The airline reimbursed Constable Almeida, and saw to it that she made her connecting flight to her family.

These days, two segments of society that seem to take a regular beating are police and airlines, so it’s also nice that they’re being recognized for doing something…nice.

Today at portsandbows.com: No more Dancing With The Stars: At Sea

Carnival Magic
7 nights
September 27, 2015
Galveston (return): Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $61

Questions with Victoria's Environmental Change

Photo: Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

The people of Victoria, British Columbia's capital city and a regular port for cruise ships going to and from Alaska, are choked. Or maybe that should be "choking."

Here, point by point, is why:

• The city scrapped plans to install shore power (electrical plug-ins) to improve air quality from visiting cruise ships.

• The reasoning for the $9-million decision was that stricter environmental rules would do the job.

• Residents have long complained about emissions from not just ships but also buses and related shuttle vehicles that service passengers.

• The 'scrubbers" that ships are using to meet environmental standards won't be in place until sometime in 2016.

• Between now and then, residents want to allow only one ship without a scrubber to be in port at any one time.

All of this raises at least a few questions:

1. If Canada's busiest cruise port is right, that scrubbers will eliminate the need for shore power to meet environmental regulations, then why did "neighboring" cities like Seattle and Vancouver install them?

2. Do residents really think schedules can be adjusted so that only one non-scrubber ship is in port at once without alienating the cruise lines that stop there?

3. Whether it's shore power or scrubbers, neither will address air-quality complaints from the exhaust of buses, shuttles and taxis.

4. Does Victoria have a bigger decision to make, about whether it wants to be a cruise port or not?

This year, there are 207 cruise-ships visits scheduled for Victoria.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: A photo essay about cruising

Norwegian Breakaway
7 nights
June 15, 2014
New York (return): King’s Wharf
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

Sandy's Reach: Victoria, Ensenada

Photo: Cesar Bojorquez

Who would imagine that the impact of Hurricane Sandy could be felt as far away as Victoria, B.C., and Ensenada, Mexico, two cruise ports on the other side of the continent?

It could.

The U.S. Government temporarily waived the Jones Act on Friday. That's the law that prohibits the transfer of goods between American ports in ships that are not registered in the U.S. As everyone knows, or should know, major cruise ships are registered in other countries…the Norwegian's Pride of America is the exception.

So when a cruise ship goes from Seattle to Alaska, it must stop at a foreign port, like Victoria, to legitimize the transfer of any goods (does that mean passengers?). The Jones Act — it was created for cargo ships but cruise ships have to fall in line — is also responsible for using Ensenada as a port for cruises along the southern Pacific Coast, and to Hawaii and back. The only cruises to Hawaii that don't stop in Ensenada — Mexico's northernmost port — are ships going beyond the Hawaiian Islands, or cruises from Canada.

Waiving the Jones Act on Friday was designed to ease the delivery of fuel and supplies to the northeastern U.S. that was so devastated by last week's hurricane. It is temporary, yet there has long been a movement to repeal the Act fully, most recently two years ago by Sen. John McCain, who estimated the economic impact of doing so would be $1 billion.

The legislation is still pending.

Are Victoria and Ensenada (and others) ready?

Caribbean Princess
7 nights
December 8, 2012
Fort Lauderdale (return): Princess Cays, Curacao, Aruba 
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

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