Ports Stood up to Hurricane Ivan


The Port Authority of Jamaica has reported that its two main cruise shipping ports, in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, suffered no infrastructural damage from Hurricane Ivan, and were back in business with three port calls between yesterday and today.
William Tatham, Vice President of Cruise Shipping and Marina Operations at the Port Authority of Jamaica, told JIS News, that the scheduled arrival of the cruise ships was as a result of constant dialogue among the industry players including the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the Port Authority and the main cruise partners, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Corporation.
The objective was to get vessels from these cruise lines back at the island’s ports, he stated.
“We confirmed for Wednesday, the ‘Caribbean Princess’ (from Carnival Corporation) for Montego Bay, and the ‘Mariner of the Seas’ from Royal Caribbean for Ocho Rios, and then on Thursday the ‘Ziuderdam’ from Holland America line will be calling on Ocho Rios, and then next week, business is back as usual,” said Mr. Tatham.
A critical aspect of the discussions between the Port Authority and the cruise lines was the readiness of the ports and availability of attractions, Mr. Tatham pointed out, noting that the Port Authority was able to give the assurance that not only were the ports ready to receive visitors, but also that “70 per cent of the attractions base was up and ready to go.”
“While all of the attractions were affected in a sense, we are unable to deliver at this time for example, the canopy tours, which have become quite popular both in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. But the major tours, for example the Dunn’s River Falls and the Dolphin Cove are all ready to go. Horseback riding is also ready…some of the water sports will not be available because of conditions of the sea at the moment and the Appleton Rum Tour is not yet ready because the roads between Montego Bay and Appleton have not yet been cleared,” he told JIS News.
The Port Authority Vice President explained that the cancellation of the ‘Carnival Conquest’ cruise ship, which was scheduled to call on the Montego Bay port on (Sept.15), “was not because Jamaica was not ready to accept them, rather, it was because the ship’s home port is in the port of New Orleans and due to the proximity of ‘Ivan’, they were unable to get around to come to us.”
He said the ability of the local ports to withstand the onslaught of the hurricane was attributable in large part to their make-up and durability. “We don’t have elaborate cruise facilities. We have very simple cruise facilities, which can undertake a tremendous amount of beating based on how well they were built in the first place,” Mr. Tatham said.

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