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Arcane Rule

April 18, 1999

Regarding "Arcane Rule Has Cruise Ships Skirting U.S. Ports" (Travel Insider, March 21): The law can affect cruise ship passengers in other, unexpected ways besides inconvenient routing for embarkation.

Two years ago, my elder sister and I had to leave our cruise in Alaska to fly to an East Coast hospital where our sister had just been placed into intensive care.

The stress of getting the bad news and the trouble of trying to arrange immediate flights from Skagway were bad enough. But then we were denied disembarkation from the ship until a U.S. immigration officer was found who could come to the ship to determine whether to assess each of us a $200 penalty because we had boarded in Juneau, another U.S. port.

TOM OGDEN

Los Angeles

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