AUCKLAND Council is mulling a number of permanent mooring options at Queens Wharf in order to better handle mega cruise ships such as Ovation of the Seas.
The council is assessing an “inner dolphin” standalone fixed structure at the wharf’s northern end which would enable Auckland to let cruise ship pax disembark on land, rather than via tender (see page one of today’s Cruise Weekly).
It insists there needs to be an “immediate berthing solution to avoid this season’s scenario where Ovation of the Seas had to moor in the harbour”.
As part of Council’s Progressive Cruise Strategy, it stated “a lack of fit for purpose infrastructure has the potential to halt industry growth and reduce the potential economic benefits to Auckland & to the rest of NZ which depends on Auckland as the hub port”.
Although Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts is hopeful the NZ$10 million solution could be up and running before the end of this year, the council said in Mar “it is possible for it to be operational for the 2018/19 cruise season, subject to consent approval”.
“Timing is critical to be ready for the 2018/19 cruise season and provide certainty for future cruise seasons. With consent, procurement & construction taking up to 15 months, a decision is needed soon. Berthing larger ships on Queens Wharf is the only available solution.”
Auckland Council said funds for the inner dolphin would likely come from capital funds, adding they would be recovered through cruise ship passenger levies.
Queens Wharf, which is the site of Shed 10 (used as a cruise terminal), is located alongside Auckland’s other major cruise facility Princes Wharf.