Our maritime lawyers know all too well that when a new port is constructed or an existing one is refurbished, accidents are bound to happen. One particular historic port in Canada may soon be undergoing a makeover of its own, but will it lead to crewmember or cruise passenger injuries?
Some residents in Charlottetown are pushing for a renovation of the area’s cruise ship port, saying that its security fencing and gravel piles are unsightly. The residents met this week with the Charlottetown Harbour Authority in order to discuss the port’s possible future beautification project.
Charlottetown Harbour Authority CEO Les Parsons said the cruise ship industry is not exactly keen on improving the looks of the port. It would much rather focus on its efficiency than how appealing it is.
“They want a functional cruise-port terminal, to move the passengers through to get to shore excursions and do other things, walk uptown,” said Parsons.
However, Andrea Battison, of the Charlottetown Downtown Residents Association, said the industry is not taking resident concerns into consideration.
“The cruise ships actually don’t want a pretty port because they don’t want people to stay there. They prefer to go on excursions. Whereas us, the people living downtown walking along the boardwalk, using that space on a daily basis, would certainly really appreciate to see a bit of beautification in the area,” explained Battison.
Yet, Parsons said the Charlottetown Harbour Authority is sympathetic to the plights of the residents and the meeting is just one opportunity that will lead to possible further discussions regarding the future of the port.
With a record 51 cruise ships calling at the port, the Harbour Authority is anticipating another record-breaking season next year with a projected 70 vessels. While the port may be bringing in revenue for now, in a few years, Parsons argues that the port may not even be a popular calling point for cruise lines and any renovations might just be a waste of time and resources.
According to Parsons, in 2015 North American emissions control regulations will come into effect that will require cruise ship operators to use cleaner fuel that has lower concentrations of Sulfur. Existing cruise ships will need to modify their engines, which will be costly and might lead some cruise lines to abandon certain stops.
“So, for now I think it’s going to be business as usual. We’re still seeing, growth, which we’re pleased with, but I think in the long term we have to be mindful there could be an impact and a potentially negative impact on the amount of traffic,” he said.
PHOTO CREDIT: ocean100.com