St. Kitts – Nevis Tug Service Ready For Cruise Ships

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 13, 2007 (CUOPM)

The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCAPA) said Wednesday that from the start of the 2007 ““ 2008 Cruise Ship Season, essential tug services have been provided to vessels and will continue to be for the duration of the Season.

“Earlier this year, SCASPA began negotiations with SOMARA, a Tug Boat Company in Martinique, to undertake repairs to Tug ITCO as part of a concessionary arrangement.  This arrangement was not fully followed through, however, an agreement was reached that SOMARA would provide tug services on a stand-by basis.  This plan came into effect at the start of the Cruise Ship Season on October 22,” SCASPA said in a news release.

It noted that since the cost of this service was higher than SCASPA’s subsidized rates, the Authority was forced to propose new charges, but this proposal was rejected by stakeholders in the cruise tourism industry, some of whom indicated that no tug was preferable to paying increased charges.

“Not prepared to bear the full financial cost in order to maintain current charges to clients, SCASPA made the decision to discontinue the existing arrangement with SOMARA.  With the new business model, the Authority will operate in a manner that sustains its operations,” said SCASPA.

SCASPA said that recognizing the importance of satisfying international and safety requirements by supplying tug service to vessels still, SCASPA explored other options with SOMARA.

“The outcome was that tug services would be provided on request only, rather than continue to have the tug on a stand-by basis.  Presently, through their agents, vessels requiring tug service will make the request directly to SOMARA in advance, and a tug will be dispatched,” said SCASPA, which added:

“To date, every vessel needing the assistance of a tug has been provided with this service, and there has been no disruption to the schedule as a result of the arrangements provided.”

SCASPA said it understands the critical importance of the cruise tourism industry to the St. Kitts and Nevis economy, and remains committed to collaborating with stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of this industry.

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