Float­ing cruise-ship pier coming to Port Royal this win­ter

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Janet Sil­vera/Se­nior Gleaner Writer janet.sil­vera@glean­erjm.com

AS OF this coming win­ter, Port Royal will have the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date the world’s largest ships when the first float­ing cruise ship pier, SeaWalk, is in­stalled in the his­toric town.

Port Royal in east Kingston will be the first place in the Caribbean where the Scan­di­na­vian group SeaWalk will set up such a fa­cil­ity. Al­ready, four in­stal­la­tions have been done in Europe, and more than 400 suc­cess­ful cruise calls have been made us­ing the mod­ern tech­nol­ogy.

On completion, the city made fa­mous by pi­rates will be able to ac­com­mo­date some of the world’s largest cruise ships, SeaWalk’s chair­man, Ole Heg­gheim, told The Gleaner from his of­fices in Nor­way re­cently.

“The pier can ac­com­mo­date one ship at a time,” he stated, adding that SeaWalk is cur­rently be­ing used by ships car­ry­ing up to 6,000 pas­sen­gers and more than 2,000 crew mem­bers with­out any is­sues.

On the heels of Heg­gheim’s in­ter­view with The Gleaner, Cab­i­net an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that ap­proval of US$7.4 mil­lion had been granted for the sup­ply, in­stal­la­tion and com­mis­sion­ing of the float­ing pier.

For years, plans to bring cruise ships to Port Royal have been thwarted by the frag­ile ecol­ogy of the site, which would be dis­rupted by con­struc­tion of a fixed pier.

Ac­cord­ing to Heg­gheim, the float­ing pier is en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly since it only re­quires five me­tres of beach to op­er­ate. “SeaWalk is in use on UNESCO World Her­itage destinations and costs less than 50 per cent of a tra­di­tional pier,” he re­vealed.

With a float­ing pier, the ship is moored between two points. “SeaWalk is self-pro­pelled to the ship’s side and con­se­quently moored to the ship,” stated Hegge­heim.

This, he ex­plained, al­lowed pas­sen­gers to walk ashore, sim­i­lar to tra­di­tional con­crete pier.

In fact, SeaWalk can, to an ex­tent, be com­pared to a gate at an air­port, the dif­fer­ence be­ing that the SeaWalk is float­ing and is much big­ger.

“The in­ter­rup­tive and patented prod­uct is founded on well-proven tech­nol­ogy based on the ex­pe­ri­ence from the oil in­dus­try in The North Sea,” assured Heg­gheim.

He dis­closed that dis­cus­sions were in place with sev­eral other destinations in the Caribbean to pro­vide the fa­cil­ity at their cruise-ship­ping piers.

CON­TRIBUTED

This cruise ship is moored by a float­ing pier in a Scan­di­na­vian port. Scan­di­na­vian group SeaWalk is sched­uled to in­stall a sim­i­lar fa­cil­ity in Port Royal by this win­ter tourism sea­son.

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