Full steam ahead for cruis­ing

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Gary Ad­shead

Cruise ships will berth in Broome for longer after the McGowan Gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted $7 mil­lion to dredge and make the port safer.

The world’s largest cruise line com­pany P&O, which owns Car­ni­val Aus­tralia, has praised the de­ci­sion and com­mit­ted to keep­ing Fre­man­tle as a home port and de­ploy­ing its 2000-guest ship Sun Princess there next year.

“Cruis­ing is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to the WA econ­omy,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“Car­ni­val had de­cided to pull out of home port­ing in Fre­man­tle be­cause some of the in­fras­truc­ture is­sues in WA ports hadn’t been dealt with and there had been no ac­tion with the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.”

The ma­jor prob­lem was berthing in Broome be­cause of tidal is­sues and large rocks un­der wa­ter in the port that re­stricted the time ships could ar­rive and de­part safely.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia said the Gov­ern­ment was also deal­ing with ten­sion­ing units at Ger­ald­ton port.

In May, Car­ni­val an­nounced its vis­its to WA were at risk be­cause of the in­fras­truc­ture is­sues.

The com­pany’s Aus­tralian vi­cepres­i­dent, Stu­art Al­li­son, said fix­ing the prob­lems guar­an­teed five cruises in and out of WA in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber next year.

“They will add $8 mil­lion to the lo­cal econ­omy,” he said.

Mr Al­li­son said with the dredg­ing work done, Broome would be­come a mar­quee port for the com­pany, which put it on a par with the most-favoured des­ti­na­tions world­wide for pas­sen­gers.

“Broome rates higher for our Princess Cruises guests than any other port in Aus­tralia, but the prob­lem with tidal ac­cess means they don’t get the best ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“Long term, we hope to bring even larger ships to Aus­tralia.”

Ger­ald­ton MLA Ian Blayney wel­comed the news the Sun Princess would con­tinue to home­port in WA. He said the cruise in­dus­try played a vi­tal role in bring­ing tourism and rev­enue for the lo­cal econ­omy.

“The with­drawal of P&O ships from Western Aus­tralia, and Ger­ald­ton in par­tic­u­lar, would have been dis­ap­point­ing not only for pas­sen­gers but also for the econ­omy,” Mr Blayney said.

He said the money the pre­vi­ous State Gov­ern­ment in­vested in shore ten­sion units ear­lier this year would help the Ger­ald­ton Port reach its full po­ten­tial and en­able more fre­quent cruise vis­its to Ger­ald­ton.

Pic­ture: Si­mon Santi

WA Premier Mark McGowan and Sun Princess cap­tain Gen­naro Arma.

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