Cruise ship aborts call due to weather

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The country missed an opportunity to host 3,000 passengers yesterday when bad weather forced the Azura Cruise Liner of P&O Cruises to abandon a call to St John’s Harbour.

President of the Cruise Tourism Association Nathan Dundas said the captain had to cancel the visit because high winds would not have allowed safe docking.

An attempt to dock in Falmouth Harbour was also aborted due to unfavourable sea conditions.

Chief Marine Pilot Beresford Sam said the captain of the vessel made the decision after reporting a wind speed reading of over 25 knots and six-foot swells.

“The wind was too strong for a cruise ship that size that is not equipped with Azipod – which is new equipment that is attached to modern cruise ships to help them manoeuvre properly. He indicated that he would go to Falmouth, but the swells at Falmouth were too rough and high so they could not put their tenders down to ferry the passengers to shore. They had to abort the Antigua call totally,” Sam said.

OBSERVER media understands that the wind speed coupled with the vessel only having one rudder as well as the journey through the narrow channel in St John’s could have caused drifting onto the sea bank, which might have resulted in damage to the sea craft.

“It is a vessel that is equipped with one rudder. The marine pilot never had an opportunity to board the ship because it never arrived at [the] pilot station,” Sam said.

This is not the first time the Azura has abandoned a call to Antigua due to bad weather conditions during this time of the year. The chief marine pilot said it has happened on at least two previous occasions.

The Antigua Meteorological Services, confirmed rough seas with swells of nine feet and a warning for small craft and sea bathers.

Adventure of the Seas and Viking are schedule to drop anchor in St John’s today.

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