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Monday, February 12, 2001

SS Independence dry-docks
at Pearl Harbor
for repairs

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The interisland cruise ship SS Independence will be in for repairs for the second time in a year at Pearl Harbor.

Last year, the 860-passenger ship was dry-docked for two weeks at Pearl Harbor for its regularly scheduled maintenance. The two-week stop in January was seen as a boon to Hawaii's ship's repair industry, since it resulted in $5 million worth of work.

The ship will be in for emergency repairs March 24-31 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility's Dry dock 4. American Classic Voyages Co., which operates the Independence, said a thruster that helps dock the ship needs repair.

"Although it's only a pit stop, it's great to do the work in Hawaii," said John Ball, chief operating officer for Honolulu Shipyard.

"It will help the local economy, the local industry and the ship owners as well." He estimated it will provide jobs for up to 30 workers from his company.

Routine maintenance work on the Independence, such as hull cleaning and painting, is usually done on the mainland because Honolulu doesn't have a private dry dock large enough to accommodate large cruise ships.

"The shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is in the process of calculating the impact of this docking on the high volume of docking and undocking evolutions already scheduled during the time requested," said Debbie Lyons, a spokeswoman for the shipyard. "Details of the docking agreement will be negotiated once those calculations are complete."

Some confirmed passengers were rebooked on other sailings and given cabin upgrades and a $25 on-board credit.

Those who canceled will be given full refunds and 50 percent off a future seven-night Independence cruise, the Chicago-based company said.

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