By Akedia Christopher
St. Kitts – Nevis Sun
February 19, 2008
The absence of a tugboat has once again, according to a reliable source, caused the St. Kitts Port Authority to lose approximately $60,000 after another cruise ship which was scheduled to call at Port Zante yesterday morning, turned back without even an attempt at berthing.
The Crown Princess, a ship with a capacity of over 3,100, had to “turn back” and disappointed shop and tour operators alike, have stated that the tugboat is now a necessary vessel in a country depending heavily on cruise tourism.
The source told the SUN that with winds at approximately 35 knots yesterday, the “captain of the ship would consider it dangerous to come alongside the pier without the assistance of a tugboat.”
SUN’s source also informed that the Captain Giuseppe Giusa of the Carnival Destiny, ? a ship which suffered the same fate some weeks ago, said that if he cannot come alongside the pier he would also re-route as he will not be anchoring.
The source added that most of the tour operators who incurred much cost to prepare for the ship have lost significantly and said that “taxi men going on bad, I feel sorry for tour operators, Cat Tours, and rainforests tours.”
One tour operator, Troy “˜Spuddy’ Hendrickson, manager of Caribbean Journey Masters in an interview told the SUN that he lost approximately $6,000 in revenue because of the ship’s decision to bypass Port Zante. He said, however, that his company’s loss could not be compared to that of the larger operators “who do multiple tours with that ship.”
He also said that he shares the same sentiments that everyone is airing with regard to the necessity of a tug. He added that because the pier was not properly designed or constructed, it poses a greater challenge in the berthing process “especially when your berth is exposed to the wind like ours is” and added that “we need to get this tug problem solved as it is happening too often.”
Alphonso “˜Big One’ Martin, a taxi driver, said, “For the last five years I have been talking about the tug (and) today Monday we are seeing over a half a million US dollars being let go.”
He said, “The prime minister is being fooled by the Minister of Tourism, Richard Skerrit,” he also said he does not believe, “The prime minister knows what is going on in the Ministry of Tourism because so much things happening; we lost three big boats.”
Walford Arthurton another taxi driver said while he was at home yesterday morning getting ready to meet the ship at about 7:15, he got a call informing him that “the boat turned back.”
Arthurton pointed the finger to Prime Minister Denzil Douglas and said, “We have prime minister who said he is a caring minister, who nobody seems to know where he was for the last month or so,” and added that though the “prime minister” said that tourism is the main industry, to date he has not seen anything from him proving that he is serious about making tourism our major income earner.