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HomeNewsArchivesDREDGING NEARLY FINISHED; CRUISE RECORD NEARS

DREDGING NEARLY FINISHED; CRUISE RECORD NEARS

Dredging work in the Charlotte Amalie harbor has been marginally completed, according to the West Indian Company, Ltd. And cruise ship passenger arrivals should set a new record this year.
In a monthly newsletter WICO said this week that the dredging project, undertaken by the V.I. Port Authority, is far enough along to allow the new eagle-class ship Explorer of the Seas to call on St. Thomas. The company noted that Royal Caribbean cruise line, which owns the vessel, has requested expeditious completion of the work in certain areas of the harbor that are now only marginally safe for the massive mega-ship, which has a 29-foot draft.
"The line has pointed out that there is no room for error maneuvering the vessel in the harbor," WICO noted, underscoring the need to complete the entire project.
WICO president and chief executive officer Edward Thomas also reported the number of passenger arrivals have increased this calendar year through November by 26 percent over the same period a year ago. "(Projected) arrivals for December have assured us that we will top the 1,700,000 mark in St. Thomas which will set a new record for annual arrivals," he said.
The previous record was in 1997, when 1,560,247 passengers arrived.
Thomas said among reasons for the increase is the all-important weather: a light hurricane season resulted in the loss of only three calls. "Another factor is the larger and additional vessels which called even during the summer months," he said.
WICO spokesman Calvin Wheatley also noted Friday that fewer mishaps befell cruise ships this year. "The Monarch of the Seas hit a reef off St. Martin one year and was out of commission," he said.

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