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