Spotts Dock upgraded

Following well over a year of being out of use because of mandated upgrades being done to bring it up to international standards, Spotts Dock is finally back in use as a secondary cruise facility.

On Wednesday, the first ships to use the port as an upgraded facility, Star Princess, Imagination and CarnivalLiberty were given refuge there for disembarkation of passengers while waves crashed into George Town harbour.

The site, which is used when seas are too choppy for cruise ships in George Town, was upgraded to new mandated security and safety standards under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. George Town Port came up to standard when the code was originally mandated.

The landing had only been permitted to operate in emergency circumstances since the ISPS Code was mandated in July 2004.

Upgrades at the site included a large area of dock-land being fenced, stretching from the water right up to near the road-side. This passenger area was fenced for safety and security measures. A parking lot has also been created adjacent to the passenger area.

Space is limited in terms of the pier, which can only handle three tenders at any one time, said Port Facility Security Officer Joseph Woods.

Plans for the upgrading of the Spotts facility were submitted to TRANSEC for approval. TRANSEC is the Department of Transport’s security directorate in the United Kingdom. The site was also inspected by TRANSEC. The dock is now listed on the International Maritime Organisation’s website as a facility meeting the ISPS Code.

The code was triggered by US terrorist attacks in 2001, after which the cruise ship industry was viewed as being vulnerable.