Tourism minister revives floating cruise pier idea

Appearing on Radio Cayman’s ‘For The Record’ on Wednesday, Bryan said the government had not adopted a policy or a formal position about the installation of piers like those in Jamaica and Scandinavia but he wanted the public to know he was looking into it. “There are no commitments at all,” he said but told listeners that he was “blown away” when he saw how solid and functional they were.

He said the government was “comfortable with the way things are”, but if there was an opportunity to enhance the cruise product, it was worth looking at.

Bryan has stated on several occasions that his ministry is looking at increasing the quality of the cruise passengers rather than quantity. And since the cruise lines are all still committed to calling on Grand Cayman without piers, the motivation for looking into acquiring them is not clear, but it is likely that the current minister, like his predecessors, is subject to the same pressure from the cruise lines regarding their desire for piers.

Despite insisting there was no commitment to such a project, Bryan said that two cruise lines have offered to come to the Cayman Islands and do further investigations of this type of pier, which can be folded up in bad weather. He said he wanted to examine the idea “because, from what I saw, it’s something that can be an option for Cayman”, as he noted how much less expensive they are compared to berthing facilities.

However, the viability of floating piers here has already been considered by the consultants on the environmental impact assessment that was undertaken for the PPM’s now shelved cruise project. Those experts challenged the technical viability because floating docks have not been used in a location like the George Town Harbor with its exposure to the open ocean. The piers installed in Jamaica by a Norwegian company were the first in the Caribbean region and they are in a sheltered harbour.

Following Bryan’s comments, the social media group associated with the successful referendum campaign that put a stop to the PPM-led administration’s berthing facilities described it as, at best, “a pipe dream”.

Watch the “For the Record” show and the Jamaican Government’s news item about Port Royal’s SeaWalk floating pier system below:

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