Rockland proposes cruise ship passenger limits

Posted:  Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - 3:30pm
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ROCKLAND – Are cruise ships avoiding Rockland in response to previous talk of moratorium? The answer depends on whom you ask. Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell says yes. Harbor Management Commission Chairwoman Louise MacLellan-Ruf says no.

Reservations are up, MacLellan-Ruf told the Rockland City Council during its Aug. 6 agenda-setting meeting. Yet, Luttrell sifted paperwork during the same meeting and came up with only three reservations for 2019.

Either way, some representatives are calling for specific numbers to stipulate as the City continues to define what it considers best for land infrastructure, harbor management, costs, and policing.

Input from the Rockland Economic Development Commission (REDAC), the Comprehensive Planning Commission, and the Harbor Management Commission resulted in the following numbers:

No more than two vessels per day, no more than 500 berths per ship, and no regulation of when during the season the vessels can arrive. In the future, HMC may factor crew into the numbers, according to MacLellan-Ruef. For now, though, the additional numbers may increase confusion.

“We learned from the Draken that we can’t really manage 1,600 people on that waterfront property,” Mayor Valli Geiger said. “We don’t have the bathrooms or anything else.”

For the shoulder seasons, 10 medium size boats with a berth capacity less than 2,500 would be welcome, though no more than 9,000 passengers in one month. Rockland has never had 10 vessels.

“So, again, it doesn’t feel like we’re slamming the door,” she said. “But we are saying, ‘it’s going to be limited to 10, should we get 20 asking.’”

Shoulder season is defined as when the docks are placed in Spring to June 15, and Labor Day to around October 15.

The Queen Mary, though very large, has a passenger number of approximately 2,500 along with a crew of approximately 1,300.

Another vessel already contracted for 2019 that has a little more than 3,000 passengers, according to Luttrell. Because that contract was signed prior to Aug. 13, 2018, the City will continue to honor it, according to MacLellan-Ruf.

“Any time we start adding in increments of 100, it becomes more and more challenging for our infrastructure,” MacLellan-Ruf said.

If approved, these stipulations would be effective through 2023, or until the Harbor Management Plan is voted on and passed by City Council.

City Council will continue the discussion during the August 13 City Council meeting.

 

See our previous articles:

Friday morning Rockland cruise ship dialog focuses on pollution

Rockland group presents cruise ship moratorium petition

Supporters of cruise ship tourism voice opinions before Rockland Council

Rockland Harbor Commission, Council to discuss cruise ship fees

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com