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Tourist arrivals up despite dark clouds over ports project

The ships berthed at the expanded cruise pier today, December 30, 2015 are Queen Mary II and Norwegian Escape. Photo: VINO
The Aida Luna was scheduled to bring some 2050 passengers to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
The Aida Luna was scheduled to bring some 2050 passengers to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
The Tortola Pier Park is still incomplete despite several missed deadlines. The NDP Government recently said it would be 'officially' opened on February 16, 2016 when construction is expected to be complete. There have been criticisms over that new announced deadline with many not optimistic that it is possible with the amount of interior work yet to be done on buildings. Photo: VINO
The Tortola Pier Park is still incomplete despite several missed deadlines. The NDP Government recently said it would be 'officially' opened on February 16, 2016 when construction is expected to be complete. There have been criticisms over that new announced deadline with many not optimistic that it is possible with the amount of interior work yet to be done on buildings. Photo: VINO
Since the enhancement of the cruise pier, November 18, 2015 was the first time that the Virgin Islands had berthed three ships at the pier. Photo: Tortola Pier Park Ltd
Since the enhancement of the cruise pier, November 18, 2015 was the first time that the Virgin Islands had berthed three ships at the pier. Photo: Tortola Pier Park Ltd
A cruise ship anchored off West End today, December 30, 2015. Photo: VINO
A cruise ship anchored off West End today, December 30, 2015. Photo: VINO
Virgin Islands News Online can also confirm that Claude O. Skelton-Cline’s contract as Managing Director at the BVI Ports Authority has not yet been renewed. Photo: VINO/File
Virgin Islands News Online can also confirm that Claude O. Skelton-Cline’s contract as Managing Director at the BVI Ports Authority has not yet been renewed. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- What is becoming a familiar sight since the expansion of the cruise pier and continuing upland development, three cruise ships are in port today December 30, 2015.

The streets of Road Town, the Virgin Islands capital city, are buzzing with tourists and taxi operators may be especially enjoying a good Christmas season as the three ships have combined to bring more than 8000 tourists on one day, although it is not clear how many actually leave the ships.

The ships berthed at the expanded cruise pier today are Queen Mary II and Norwegian Escape while Aida Luna is anchored off shore.

According to Leasing and Marketing Manager of Tortola Pier Park Limited, Ms Meslyn M. Allan, Norwegian Escape was scheduled to bring 4200 passengers, Queen Mary II 2620 passengers and Aida Luna 2050 passengers.

November 18, 2015 was the first time that the VI had berthed three ships since the enhancement of the cruise pier. The Norwegian Escape, which was the biggest ship in port on that day, had its inaugural call and, according to Tortola Pier Park Ltd, expressed their delight in being able to dock a ship of this magnitude at the new cruise pier.

The Norwegian Escape is the newest and largest ship of the cruise line and has a GRT of 164,600 and holds up to 4,248 passengers plus 1,651 crew members.

Meanwhile, the Queen Mary II, once the biggest ship in the world, is still amongst the top 10 largest cruise liners in the world being 1,132 ft in length and having a GRT of 148,528.

Since November 18, 2015 there have been three other occasions in which three ships have made ports of call on the same day.

Comparing the number of cruise passenger arrivals for the month of October over the last three years, the BVI Ports Authority has reported that October 2013 saw 4,098 cruise passenger arrivals; October 2014 saw 5,465 cruise passenger arrivals and October 2015 saw 32,133 cruise passenger arrivals. This news site was unable to get any information on arrivals for November.

Ms Allan also stated that 2 cruise ships anchored off Virgin Gorda, 2 off Jost Van Dyke and 1 off West End today, December 30, 2015.

Shadows over Cruise pier project

Meanwhile, the ‘Grand Opening’ of the Tortola Pier Park, which consists of an enhanced cruise pier and a five-acre landside shopping facility, was postponed from December 22, 2015 to February 16, 2016, a story first and accurately broken by this news site.

There have been criticisms of the new opening date announced by Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) since many buildings are reportedly far from being complete.

This is in addition to the recent revelations of Mr Hugh E. Darley, a former developer of the cruise pier development project and President of IDEA Inc., who has accused the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government of perverting the process of the project’s development and causing it to balloon far beyond what it would have cost originally to build.

During an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online, Mr Darley also accused the government of not honouring their licencing obligations for the use of his designs, some of which he said they changed in an effort to “cheapen” the project.

He also said he plans to sue the government for monies owed to him.

Virgin Islands News Online can also confirm that Claude O. Skelton-Cline’s contract as Managing Director at the BVI Ports Authority has not yet been renewed.

19 Responses to “Tourist arrivals up despite dark clouds over ports project”

  • JACK BE STILL (30/12/2015, 15:43) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some body got to take the fall
    • @ jack be still (30/12/2015, 23:49) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Everyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.
  • just asking... (30/12/2015, 16:08) Like (32) Dislike (1) Reply
    How come police only comes out when tourist are in town but when the local have busy days you cant see a police?
    • wize up (30/12/2015, 16:51) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ just asking: color
      • stop asking (31/12/2015, 03:09) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
        The tourist is our bread financial service is our cheese. We have to protect them if we want to eat.. Leave the Police do their job
    • answer (31/12/2015, 13:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @justasking The locals are too rude, lawless and ungrateful!!! It is the only time we feel appreciated. It pays to hear at least "Thank You Officer". Everyday should be Tourist day!!!
  • Entrepreneur (30/12/2015, 16:27) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    True. Its obvious. We can see that..they are more tourist. But entrepreneurs saying spending is down.
  • tiger (30/12/2015, 18:12) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    cruise ship people are notoriously cheap but we also don't have many things that they would want to spend their money on
    • ...... (31/12/2015, 10:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Take a visit out to the incomplete Tortola Pier Park. All that will soon change and is already changing with some of the new stores already out there. It is shaping up nicely. No lie.
  • Boo (30/12/2015, 18:24) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    After all the fan fair local businesses in town made little or no money
    • wize up (31/12/2015, 06:05) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ boo: not even the residents of the territory shops here so how in all honestly you think visitors will show here: there is nothing here to purchase outside of groceries and not even that...when the land side of the pier project is completed, those selected few in that area stands to generate some big bucks...the tour operators curtently makes good money along with some taxi drivers but there is hardly anything in road town to purchase especially the dining experience
  • qc (30/12/2015, 23:38) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    A shame, what went on at the ports but inevitable considering what's come to light in recent days/months.
  • preacher & politian (30/12/2015, 23:43) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is amazing how people can lead a double life, and not be bothered in the slightest by their own hypocrisy.
  • simple (31/12/2015, 08:56) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Minister for the subject also needs to be removed pending the outcome of an investigation. This project is needed but too much questionable acts went on turning some into millionaires illegally with our tax dollars while the majority of us remain broke & struggling.
    • wize up (31/12/2015, 11:28) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ simple; amen to that and school children saying a new airline coming soon and that airline might be subsidised by government: as note some in that "NDP circle" turning into millionaires while the majority of us remain broke and struggling (is that right??!!)
  • .......... (31/12/2015, 10:54) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    NDP on the move for the people of the Virgin Islands. PROGRESS !!!!
    • wize up (31/12/2015, 12:33) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @........progress is right BUT when the handful becoming richer and richer through shady government deals you cant say process for the people because our school children have lack of supplies at schools whiles the elete few profiting and building private homes and personal business development
  • WWW (01/01/2016, 22:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    2011 started with a government, 2015 ended with an absentee dictator


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