Cruise ships backed in elsewhere . . .

LETTER

Could someone with more marine knowledge than me please explain why large tour ships are apparently able to back into wharf berths in centres other than ours.

Last Wednesday’s TV news showed a cruise ship of, I guess, at least 250 metres sitting alongside a wharf with its bow pointing seaward. There was certainly no obvious amount of harbour space that would have allowed it to be turned. Why can this form of berthing not be performed in Gisborne?

Mike Mulrooney

Footnote response from Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum:

We have trialled reversing large cruise ships into Eastland Port using a state-of-the-art Australian-based simulator. The issue is that doing this safely requires very calm sea and wind conditions, which is seldom the case in Gisborne given our exposure to open ocean. The Golden Princess as an example is 36m wide and very high (so she catches at lot of wind). Our channel is only 90 metres wide, leaving very little room for error.

The safety of our port is paramount in all we do, so while reversing a large cruise ship into the port is theoretically possible, it is not currently safely practical.

Could someone with more marine knowledge than me please explain why large tour ships are apparently able to back into wharf berths in centres other than ours.

Last Wednesday’s TV news showed a cruise ship of, I guess, at least 250 metres sitting alongside a wharf with its bow pointing seaward. There was certainly no obvious amount of harbour space that would have allowed it to be turned. Why can this form of berthing not be performed in Gisborne?

Mike Mulrooney

Footnote response from Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum:

We have trialled reversing large cruise ships into Eastland Port using a state-of-the-art Australian-based simulator. The issue is that doing this safely requires very calm sea and wind conditions, which is seldom the case in Gisborne given our exposure to open ocean. The Golden Princess as an example is 36m wide and very high (so she catches at lot of wind). Our channel is only 90 metres wide, leaving very little room for error.

The safety of our port is paramount in all we do, so while reversing a large cruise ship into the port is theoretically possible, it is not currently safely practical.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

wiki - 12 days ago
Pity cruise ships can't berth at Gisborne port - it would be a better sight than the ugly logs stockpiled on the harbour!

Mr Know It All - 12 days ago
Yeah . . . Back 'em in on the rare occasions when wind and swell conditions are mild, and forecast to stay that way for the departure time. Oh, hang on, hang on . . . No berthing space at the wharf, because the logging industry rules the port.

Don Roscoe - 12 days ago
Does the port have any feeling for how many more cruise ships might come to Gisborne if the ships could dock alongside the wharf?
I certainly know, as a sometime cruiser myself, that I much prefer port stops where I can walk off the ship and be immediately in the middle of a town, rather than having to take tender transfers to and from the ship in a more structured and less convenient manner.
What percentage of cruise ship passengers currently leave ships when they anchor off-shore in Gisborne?
Would a tug (or two or three!) help the problem?
An earlier reader suggested backing ships in when the weather is good. Is that a possibility too? It is my sense that ships have better directional stability when proceeding forwards, so perhaps the problem is primarily with berthing - meaning that if the weather deteriorates between when the ship berths and when it leaves, that wouldn't be a huge problem.
While we all (sort of) love the cruise ship visits, it seems that Gisborne is getting less than its fair share, and anything we can do to encourage more ships into port and more passengers ashore, the better.

winston moreton - 11 days ago
An important detail missing from Gisborne Herald stories and the port response here is how much the port does not want cruise ships interfering with its multimillion-dollar logging operation. I wager as a disincentive they not only pretend the ships can not reverse, I bet it charges them top dollar too - as an incentive to go to other ports like Tauranga and Napier. At the same time I believe it gives the overseas-owned logging companies a special rate. Ship-borne tourism is important and our community-owned trust ECT should remind the port it is a community asset. The Gisborne Herald should be more investigative.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    How do you rate National’s election-year Budget?