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Dredging of St Thomas Harbor halts

05 Oct 2010

West Indian Company Ltd. President and CEO Ed Thomas said it and Royal Caribbean were going to spend a combined $15-$20 million to dredge St. Thomas Harbor so that mega ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas could dock there but not anymore.

The cruise lines are not going to put up that money because they accomplished their goal,” he said. “Their ship is in St. Thomas. Certainly the West Indian Company is not going to put up money to do that kind of dredging because the ship is already in St. Thomas.

Problems started back on October 14, 2009 when Governor John deJongh Jr put the dredging project on hold after substantial public opposition.  Those opposed to the dredging plan were concerned about the part of the plan that called for dumping 162,000 cubic yards of material into an existing depression in Lindbergh Bay.  While searching for an alternative, Oasis of the Seas would have to dock in Crown Bay.

Despite the halt in the plan, deJongh was confident that the dredging project would be complete in time for Allure of the Seas' first stop in St Thomas on December 10, 2010 during the busy tourist season.  However, talks never progressed very far according to Thomas, talks collapsed in January.

The trend of cruise ships getting larger and larger means St. Thomas Harbor will eventually need to be dredged acrroding to Thomas and that the harbor is already due for maintenance dredging thanks to all of the debris kicked up by departing and arriving cruise thips over the last few years.

Increased police presence in St Thomas to combat violence

19 Jul 2010

Following last week's killing of a cruise passenger, the United States Virgin Islands say they are making strides to make the island safer for tourists.  The police on the island are increasing their foot patrols across the island to stem violence from occuring.

Police commissioner Novelle Francis issued a statement regarding the measures the police are taking, "In response to the tragic incident at Coki Point on July 12, the (Virgin Islands police department) has quickly augmented its efforts to increase police officer presence on the streets and patrol specific areas visited most often by tourists, including but not limited to cruise ports, beaches, historical attractions, hotels and popular sightseeing areas".

The increased measures to combat violence include

  • Increased mobile patrols of other areas with high visitor traffic
  • The upgrading of security surveillance apparatus across the territory, including the addition of surveillance cameras in towns with 24 hour monitoring
  • New intelligence gathering prior to and during visits of the areas frequented by visitors
  • Monitoring of the movement of visitors
  • Increased high intensity patrols of popular attractions throughout the territory

In addition, the U.S. Virgin Islands' tourist office announced plans this past Friday for a $1.2 million advertising and marketing campaign that will hopefully help portray the territory in a better light than it has been recently due to the news of the killing and violence on the island. The money will also be spent on new public relations efforts and to bring travel writers to the territory to write about it.

Shooting in St. Thomas leaves future of tours undecided

13 Jul 2010

Yesterday there was an unfortunate death in St. Thomas, as a 14 year old cruise passenger from a Carnival Cruise Line ship was on a beach excursion to Coki Beach when she was shot to death after being caught in a crossfire by rival gangs. This has prompted other cruise lines to make decisions about the immediate future of excursions on St. Thomas. 

According to CruiseCritic, Royal Caribbean hasn't made their decision yet, "A spokeswoman tells us that the lines do not have any ships in port today, but do tomorrow (Celebrity Solstice). However, a decision has not yet been made regarding tomorrow's tours; we'll keep you posted."

Carnival has cancelled their tours in the area while other cruise lines have not made any decisions yet.

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