Emerg­ing in­dus­try

Ex­pe­di­tion cruise com­pany hopes to make full use of port of Syd­ney

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NANCY KING

Im­proved in­fra­struc­ture and ac­cess to ser­vices such as cus­toms are among the is­sues that need to be ad­dressed in or­der for an ex­pe­di­tion cruise com­pany to make full use of the port of Syd­ney, its CEO says.

An­drew Prossin of One Ocean Ex­pe­di­tions was in Syd­ney on Mon­day to an­nounce the com­pany’s ac­qui­si­tion of a new ship that will be named the RCGS Res­o­lute and will have Syd­ney as its home port.

The nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments will come with the $20 mil­lion sec­ond cruise ship berth to be con­structed at the port, Prossin said.

“We just need to see a lit­tle bit of change in some of the reg­u­la­tions to make it eas­ier to do busi­ness in a place like Syd­ney,” he told re­porters. “I’ll be hon­est, the deck is a bit stacked, the rules sort of give us an in­cen­tive to do more in places like Hal­i­fax be­cause of­fices have been moved to Hal­i­fax and dif­fer­ent de­part­ments in the gov­ern­ment, Trans­port Canada, Canada Cus­toms, et cetera, et cetera.

“We’d like to see a bit more re­de­vel­op­ment or reopen­ing of some of th­ese of­fices in Syd­ney so that we can more freely op­er­ate in a place like this and get all of our reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments done here.”

The reg­u­la­tory changes that are needed are mostly at the fed­eral level, he said.

Prossin, a na­tive of West­mount, had al­ready said that with the open­ing of a sec­ond berth at the port of Syd­ney sched­uled for next fall, it will be­come the home port for the com­pany. He de­scribed Syd­ney as be­ing sit­u­ated per­fectly to be a gate­way for the busi­ness.

“I’m an op­ti­mistic per­son,” Prossin said. “I’m hop­ing that the more I can do to show that the busi­ness is there maybe that will help pro­vide the in­cen­tive that ev­ery­body gets the job done.”

In ad­di­tion to ex­pe­di­tion cruises, One Ocean also has port calls where they do plan­ning for Arc­tic and Antarc­tic op­er­a­tions, where the ships come into port twice a year to spend a hand­ful of days pre­par­ing to be at sea or in re­mote ports for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time. Prossin es­ti­mated the com­pany spent

about $6 mil­lion in Hal­i­fax last year on pro­vi­sions that they are look­ing to move to Syd­ney.

Prossin has said One Ocean is the only op­er­a­tor to start and end cruises in Cape Bre­ton. Its cus­tomers want to go to small places, he said.

“There are still lots of peo­ple who want to be off the

beaten track, in fact that’s grow­ing, and com­ing to a place like Syd­ney al­lows us to do that and be more au­then­tic,” Prossin said.

Mayor Ce­cil Clarke said One Ocean’s move to Syd­ney will mean mil­lions of dol­lars in­jected into the lo­cal econ­omy and ad­di­tional vis­i­tors com­ing to Cape Bre­ton. The

spe­cialty cruise line brings a new type of vis­i­tor to the is­land, he added.

As for whether the port will be able to sup­ply ev­ery­thing that the ships will re­quire, in­clud­ing fuel at the dock, han­dling in­ter­na­tional waste from the ships and whether cus­toms ser­vices will be avail­able, Clarke said that is cur­rently be­ing re­viewed.

“Ves­sels like this take a lot of fuel and they want to be able to get that fuel here in the com­mu­nity,” Clarke said.

The Syd­ney and Port Hawkes­bury air­ports have al­ready had to deal with ac­cess to ser­vices that were put in place once the de­mand was demon­strated, he added.

John Geiger, pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Geo­graphic So­ci­ety, said the RCGS Res­o­lute will be the first ship to ever carry the so­ci­ety’s name.

Prossin has said he be­lieves there is an emerg­ing ex­pe­di­tion cruise in­dus­try run­ning ves­sels northward that will also be look­ing at Syd­ney.

On the ex­pe­di­tion cruise side, they are launch­ing a golf cruise call­ing at the is­land’s ma­jor golf at­trac­tions in­clud­ing High­lands Links, Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links.

The new ves­sel’s first voy­age will be to Antarc­tica next fall.

Fund­ing by the three lev­els of gov­ern­ment for the sec­ond cruise ship berth was an­nounced ear­lier this year.

One Ocean has of­fices in Squamish, B.C., Lon­don, Eng­land, and Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. Its po­lar ex­pe­di­tion ves­sels were in­volved in the dis­cov­ery of HMS Ere­bis in 2014.

NANCY KING/CAPE BRE­TON POST

An­swer: The man stand­ing be­tween CBRM Mayor Ce­cil Clarke and An­drew Prossin, CEO of One Ocean Ex­pe­di­tions. Ques­tion: Who is Alex Tre­bek? The host of Jeop­ardy! was in Syd­ney on Mon­day as a pas­sen­ger on One Ocean Ex­pe­di­tions’ ship Akademik Ioffe.

NANCY KING/CAPE BRE­TON POST

An­drew Prossin of One Ocean Ex­pe­di­tions an­nounced Mon­day the com­pany will ex­pand its fleet with the ad­di­tion of a new ship, which will be name the RCGS Res­o­lute. The com­pany, headed by West­mount na­tive Prossin, also in­tends to use Syd­ney as its base of op­er­a­tions once the sec­ond cruise ship berth is con­structed.

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