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OBA: Island must find a dedicated cruise ship for East End

The Opposition has called for a commitment from Government to provide St George's with a dedicated weekly cruise ship.

Shadow Transport Minister Pat Gordon-Pamplin said the Old Town's economy was “hanging by a thread, and needs decision-making that supports its revival”.

The comments followed news that St George's is to be left without a regular service during next year's season, with the

Veendam to dock solely in Hamilton for 2012.

The Holland America cruise liner has a total of 24 weekly visits scheduled for this season.

Ordinarily, the

Veendam arrives on Tuesday mornings at the East End, stopping at Murray's Anchorage instead of coming into St George's Harbour.

Tourists are ferried ashore for the day, and the ship then moves on to Hamilton at 5pm. It departs the Island on Friday afternoons from Hamilton around 2pm. So far, due to rough weather offshore, the

Veendam has missed St George's seven times out of its 16 runs.

The cruise ship was able to make a brief stop at the East End this week, and should do the same next Tuesday, according to Joe Simas of Meyer Shipping.

It could bypass St George's next week if public transport strikes continue, he said.

Ms Gordon-Pamplin said the goal of Government's cruise ship policy should be “the commercial injection provided by cruise ships” for the East End.

Currently, the

Veendam cannot fit through the Town Cut channel leading into St George's Harbour.

A US firm has examined widening this and other inshore channels, to accommodate the increasing size of cruise vessels.

Ms Gordon-Pamplin said she appreciated the industry trends toward bigger ships, but did not see it as “a deal-killer”.

“A new contract with a ship that can access the Town Cut is possible, and its duration could allow the people of St George's and Bermuda time to decide on expansion plans for the Town Cut.”

In the meantime, regular tours of St George's should be available to

Veendam passengers, she said.

Ms Gordon-Pamplin also called for Government to release the findings of the study into widening Town Cut.

That report, commissioned in December, is expected to be made public in two weeks, according to St George's Mayor Kenny Bascome.

Patricia Gordon Pamplin

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Published August 20, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated August 20, 2011 at 8:52 am)

OBA: Island must find a dedicated cruise ship for East End

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