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UPDATE: No agreement reached with NCL on release of berths- BVIPA

- discussions ongoing
The Virgin Islands is still in negotiations with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) over the releasing of berths. Photo: VINO
Following the attendance to the Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 Conference in Miami, Florida, in April last—as part of government's mandate to drive to the number of ships calling at the Territory’s ports during the peak season—a new agreement has been met with the Norwegian cruise line, which has agreed to surrender its unused berths paving the way for other cruise lines to dock in the Territory. Photo: VINO/File
Following the attendance to the Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 Conference in Miami, Florida, in April last—as part of government's mandate to drive to the number of ships calling at the Territory’s ports during the peak season—a new agreement has been met with the Norwegian cruise line, which has agreed to surrender its unused berths paving the way for other cruise lines to dock in the Territory. Photo: VINO/File
According to a Report on the Deliberations for 2019 Standing Finance Committee (SFC), Mr Lenius Lendor, Managing Director, BVI Ports Authority territory says the territory has already benefited from the conference regarding the development of the local cruise tourism industry. Photo: VINO/File
According to a Report on the Deliberations for 2019 Standing Finance Committee (SFC), Mr Lenius Lendor, Managing Director, BVI Ports Authority territory says the territory has already benefited from the conference regarding the development of the local cruise tourism industry. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands is still in negotiations with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) over the releasing of unused berths.

A Virgin Islands delegation, led by Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), had attended the Sea Trade Cruise Global 2019 Conference in Miami, Florida, in April 2019 and had discussions with NCL on the possibility of utilising its (NCL) unused berths, which would pave the way for other cruise lines to dock in the territory.

Other matters of cruise ship calls to the VI were also discussed with the executives of NCL.

And, according to the Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), Mr Lenius Lendor, in a statement to Virgin Islands News Online on June 12, 2019, at the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed by NCL and the VI delegation that further discussions would ensue.

“To date no agreement has been reached with NCL relative to the release of berths,” Mr Lendor stated.

It was noted by the BVIPA Managing Director that discussions are ongoing with NCL “on this very important matter and an update will be provided once discussions have been finalised.”

Background

In January 2014 the then National Democratic Party (NDP) Government entered into a controversial 15-year berthing agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line to guarantee a total of at least 425,000 passengers a year starting in mid-2015.

NCL was to guarantee at least 350,000 passengers and Disney Cruise Line 75,000 passengers.

This had caused concern among other cruise lines and one major cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line had even stopped coming to the territory as a result. This was followed by the pulling out of several other lines operating under Carnival Corporation.

However, Honourable  Fahie, during the Fourth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on June 3, 2019 had related that Norwegian Cruise Line had indicated to the then NDP Government since November 2016 to expect a shortfall in passengers for the 2017/18 season as they had made a commercial decision to reduce ship calls to the territory.

This was never communicated to the people of the Virgin Islands and no action was taken to address the expected shortfall by the previous administration

According to Premier Fahie, the territory will see a passenger shortfall of 180,000 for the 2019/2020 season as a result.

“This translates to an estimated loss in revenue of over $14 million projected using a passenger spend of $78.11 based on studies conducted by Business Research Economic Advisors,” Hon Fahie said.

With the reduction in cruise calls to the Virgin Islands by NCL expected to continue into future seasons, Government is now seeking to have more tourist ships return to the shores of the Virgin Islands, hence the importance of the ongoing negotiations with NCL over the release of berths.

See previous article published June 11, 2019

VI Gov't in negotiations with NCL to utilise unused berths

With Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) revealing that under the National Democratic Party (NDP) administration, cruise ships opted not to come to the territory, the Virgin Islands (VI) is now on a path towards swift revival of the industry. 

Following Premier Fahie's attendance at the Sea Trade Cruise Global 2019 Conference in Miami, Florida, in April- as part of government's mandate to drive up the number of ships calling at the territory’s ports during the peak season, Government is in negotiations with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to utilise its (NCL) unused berths, which would pave the way for other cruise lines to dock in the territory.

Seatrade Cruise Global a success

According to a Report on the Deliberations for 2019 Standing Finance Committee (SFC) held in April 2019, Mr Lenius Lendor, Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), said the territory has already benefited from the conference regarding the development of the local cruise tourism industry.

The report states, “The MD [Mr Lenius] stated that the main accomplishment from the Sea Trade trip was the agreement in principle from Norwegian Cruise Line who has agreed to look at making some of their berths available under their agreement that they rightly supposed to have since they will no longer be using them to their own acknowledgement.”

During the Fourth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on June 3, 2019, Premier Fahie had revealed that at the “At Sea Trade (Global) 2019 one cruise line even advised my delegation and myself that they told members of the previous administration that they would rather send their ships to Antarctica than to send them to the BVI,” referring to the level of poor communication strategy by the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA).

Now with this agreement, more tourist ships could be returning to the shores of the Virgin Islands as soon as the negotiations are completed.

Negotiations ongoing

While Mr Lenius stated that the territory is still awaiting a response from Norwegian Cruise Line regarding surrendering unused berths, the response will come “with the view to clarify the days they will make available with intention of BVI negotiating with other cruise lines to come to the BVI shores.”

He stated, however, Norwegian Cruise Lines will still be paying the head taxes whether they come or not as per their agreement.

According to the General Manager, “$20 million would still benefit the economy and alternative cruise lines was being sought to come to the BVI shores.” 

Premier Fahie had told the HoA that cruise partners were assured that his administration is very serious about the industry and values their partnerships. “Although Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines had previously pulled most of their ships from calling to the BVI, I am now pleased to say that significant steps have since been taken by both cruise lines in the efforts to once again increase calls to the territory.”

6 Responses to “UPDATE: No agreement reached with NCL on release of berths- BVIPA”

  • qc (11/06/2019, 15:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    well sah
  • legal team (11/06/2019, 18:18) Like (12) Dislike (5) Reply
    Where there is no vision,we the ppl of the bvi would have perished under the NDP.

    You mean to tell me that NDP Government had signed an agreement to hold our cruise ship birth hostage?

    How much kick-back under the table [pass-it] money was received?Somebody must have gotton a cut from that.

    And you people want to criticize the VIP govtment for giving 2 little belonger card to a few expats.

    The NDP govtment mismanaged the cruise line industry.
    • jokes (14/06/2019, 19:49) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes, you are right. It is obvious the situation was mismanaged from the beginning.
      Now ask yourself, who was then in charge of developing and negotiations?
      Now look who is allowed back to the negotiating table despite such poor historical performance.
      Forward never, greed forever.....

  • ... (14/06/2019, 17:50) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    More in the mota
  • to (14/06/2019, 17:55) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
    Fahie focus is to make the government look bad while he hurry away with no bid contracts...west got a full face lift with the roads same move mark made
  • See (14/06/2019, 18:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Always felt that the previous dock should have stayed and an additional dock added so that after spending the kind of money we did there would be space for four ships.


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