The new Smith Cove Cruise ship terminal has been open just a little more than a month, and this morning maritime industry leaders from Ballard and surrounding neighborhoods took a tour of Terminal 91.
The terminal has served the fishing industry for two decades, and now it’s also home to cruise ships heading to Alaska. “The fishing business is hugely important to us, and we want to make sure it works,” Charlie Sheldon who runs the Port’s seaport division said. When the first cruise ships pulled into port on May 8th, it coincided with a busy weekend for the fishing industry. Fortunately none of the factory trawlers had to be turned away, even though things got a little intense. “We bent the rules a little bit in terms of where we put guys,” Sheldon said, “So we got cross-ways with the Coast Guard.”
The group also toured the new cruise terminal, the only place in the world with two power hookups for ships. With multiple ships coming into and out of port each week, traffic has been impacted on 15th Ave. Some concerns were raised about congestion in the southbound lanes of 15th as buses and cars wait in the left-hand turn lane. In the early weeks of the cruise season, many passengers were confused, so a big sign was added to the Galer Street flyover pointing people in the right direction.
In all, today’s group was happy with the Port’s work to ensure fishing industry stays afloat in the wake of an expanding cruise ship presence.