A state report on the 2008 ocean ranger program found that “the cruise vessels are environmentally aware, and have sound environmental systems and operational practices in place to minimize environmental impacts.”

Some 32 rangers completed 456 of 516 voyages last season and filed 2,180 daily reports. Some ships were inspected in-port due to the cost of passage or their limited Alaska schedule.

The rangers discovered no issues that warranted enforcement action.

“The 2008 cruise season was a success for the Ocean Ranger Program,” the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) concluded in a report submitted to the Alaska Legislature earlier this year. “… Ocean Rangers provided useful information regarding enforcement actions taken by DEC based on industry reported wastewater issues and independently obtained opacity (air) readings. Ocean Rangers also assisted the US Coast Guard and DECSPAR in answering questions.

“Ocean Rangers provided DEC with valuable information about the treatment of wastewater and solid wastes onboard large cruise ships, and verified information that cruise ships are required to submit to the Cruise Ship Program. Ocean Rangers also assisted vessel crews with understanding new State of Alaska requirements.”

DEC called cruise industry cooperation “excellent” during the 2008 season.

DEC said it is preparing for the 2009 cruise season and its contractor, Crowley Marine Services, is increasing outreach efforts to find additional Alaskan Ocean Rangers. Only one of the 2008 rangers was an Alaskan.

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