Cruise line was ready to tender Oasis ship

| 25/11/2019 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service
Mario Rankin at CPR meeting (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): Documents and emails leaked from the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands indicate that government had come to an arrangement back in 2012 with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to tender its first Oasis class ship, the Allure of the Seas. The revelation that the UDP administration at the time had invested in related security equipment and had agreed a passenger fee discount as an incentive and tendering upgrades shows once again that the cruise berthing facility is not the only way Cayman can stay in the cruise business.

Speaking at the launch of the CPR group’s official ‘Vote No’ campaign for the referendum, which is just over three weeks away, Mario Rankin, one of the activists behind the original campaign to trigger the referendum, said this demonstrated that if government had really been acting in the best interests of the Cayman people, they could have negotiated an entirely different deal for the future of cruise tourism.

Rankin pointed out that if the PPM-led administration picked up that agreement and re-engaged Royal Caribbean as soon as they took office, the Oasis of the Seas, the only mega ship still sailing in the Western Caribbean, which does not currently call here, could have been a regular sight in the harbour.

The Oasis of the Seas continues to be at the heart of government’s justification for the cruise berthing project. They claim that if this ship was to call in the summer months, it would save the cruise sector, and that is largely why we need the berthing facilities, since the cruise lines say it is too big to tender.

Yet the company had agreed that, with certain conditions, as shown in the documents leaked from PACI, the ship could have been tendered.

“Royal Caribbean had agreed to tender their ships in 2012,” Rankin stated. He explained that by not calling on Cayman they were struggling to fill the Oasis-class ships, which is why only one now sails in the Western Caribbean.

Rankin said that the premier may not even be aware that this agreement was made, given how passionately he has spoken in the past about the need for a dock.

“This document clearly demonstrates we could have been enjoying the economic boom they are now promising with the piers now,” he said. “We bought a $200,000 mobile security facility, which now sits at the CBC building in the industrial area,” he noted.

The documents outline a deal that included a premium anchor position, the use of seven tender ships that could carry 300 people, three guaranteed docking locations for the tender, and shore-side security.

See document in CNS Library

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous says:
    26/11/2019 at 7:14 am

    Sadly “you missed the boat” your government has not been fair in allowing registrations. Any citizen should be able to register and be verified right up
    To the election!? It’s that simple. Complain to the Governor who is supposed to uphold fair citizens rights.

    For all those citizens registered who do not vote, they will be considered a yes and that is absolutely the most undemocratic wackadoodle voting system in the entire world.
    It makes our democracy a sham.

    This person is absolutely correct and look at the survey results. It seems as though we as Caymanians/expats doesn’t like the truth…this style of politics is long over…right now as I am writing this….I am watching the flagrant overspending during the budget debate…we can now even see their ways of conduct and their emotions even…. and yet 44 dislikes was awarded for this person statement….unbelievable!!! Amend the constitution.
    50 44

  2. Anonymous says:

    The latest in a long line of logical fallacies employed by the pro-tendering lobby.

    Just because ships are technically capable of being tendered doesn’t mean the cruise ship companies want to put their passengers through it.

    And, sure, no one is disputing that stay over tourism is more important and lucrative for the economy but there is no reason for us to have to choose one or the other. It’s total BS to claim that cruise shippers somehow spoil the experience for stay over. Both have been booming in recent years so there’s no evidence of that whatsoever. To me this is like saying your eyes are more important than your legs so we might as well cut your legs off.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes there’s relative harmony between the two now, but that will change when stayovers find out we are bringing another 500,000 people a year to compete with them for an enjoyable vacation experience.

    • Anonymous says:

      Couple anecdotal comments from stay over tourists. The first described a “disappointing” ray/sandbar experience because “it was crowded and chaotic”. The other group didn’t book a sandbar trip because they heard online while planning their trip that it was too busy to enjoy.

      Not scientific, but seems to me there is a certain carrying capacity at sandbar that we might be over the limit on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sownatdoes it all dan, they did not tender did they. This going round and round by CPR smacks of nothing else but politics deem all want to overthrow the Government plain and simple. If the referendum goes though, I urge everyone to stay ho e and let the country be still. Thank you. Too many damn hands in this pot all with different motivations.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you
    By now, you should have somehow realised what you gotta do

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is just straight up more proof that they won’t tender even though they physically could. They evaluated it, looked at the tender proposal that would take up 3/4 of the dock and half the tender fleet but still wasn’t a good idea.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How long does it take to tender ships that are just below Oasis size? Somehow that works just fine. Seems to me the Oasis ships would require just one or two more trips, each taking 5-10 minutes. Oasis isn’t some behemoth class that dwarfs all other ships, it’s just a bit bigger than the class below it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
    Nice photo, though I am not sure what use it will be to you in hard times in the future when you wish we had a modern cruise port. And what about “who are we building for” questions from anti-port-ers. Their darling is stay-over tourism. Exactly who are the hotels built for while employing few Caymanians? Remember, the master ground transportation plan, the Dr Horton hospital, the first modern airport, even the existing port. The pattern is clear, there is a mindset amongst us that resists proactively planning. Some of us have to personally experience negative impact first and then we want to know why it was not done years ago. And yes that is your right, I just don’t wish to suffer again in the future along with you. Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hotels and stayover tourists give us restaurants, bars, spas, event venues, and staycation rates among many other things. They also bring tourists just by being built because there are plenty of wealthy tourists who are loyal to specific hotel brands. Every major chain that opens on the island brings brand new tourists. Did I mention the killing being made on AirBnB by property owners, who now supply 1/3 of our room stock and pay the same accommodation tax as hotels? Cruise visitors by contrast give us tacky shops, traffic, litter, and I’m really not sure what else if you aren’t one of government’s accountants or in specific sub-sectors of the tourism industry itself. Cruise tourists are pests for the vast majority who call Cayman home. We are trying to bring in more cruise tourists than we’ve ever had despite the local population boom. It’s just not possible or necessary.

      As to your point about planning, we can build piers fast enough to react to any real need. There’s only one ship right now. If you could show me the retirement plans for all the current ships and the construction plans for many big ships I would see your point, but that information doesn’t exist because that just isn’t what is happening. Plan for the future, yes, but ignore the present when doing so, no.

      I myself am coming to suspect that the cruise lines have told the government, that Cayman is SO important that without piers here they can’t put Oasis class ships in the western Caribbean. They probably can’t fill them without our star power on the itinerary, which is NOT OUR PROBLEM.

      • Jose says:

        Excellent post, 8:55 am. We seem to have a lot of liars in our leadership. The truth is, “We don’t need no stinking dock!” But we do need our coral and clear water to maintain our dive businesses and guests who love Cayman’s waters.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh yeah, because restaurants, bars and spas are all owned and staffed by Caymanians! 😂

  7. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  8. Enablers says:

    All of you commenting here, giving the government a pass on this as if they were simply exploring the possibility of tendering, how do you explain the purchase of a $200,000 mobile security apparatus purchased specifically to cater to Oasis class ships? Why did they buy it if they weren’t assured that tendering was possible?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Caymanian almost 40 yrs old and have never voted, not even registered. For the first time I am moved to cast my vote and will look about getting registeted as I want to say “NO” to the port issue. Can someone please point me in the direction to get registered?

    • Anonymous says:

      8.30pm If you are not registered already then you are too late for this referendum.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please attend the elections office and register. They may tell you you are too late. Register anyway and be counted as one of hundreds of registered voters who are being disenfranchised. There is strength in numbers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly “you missed the boat” your government has not been fair in allowing registrations. Any citizen should be able to register and be verified right up
      To the election!? It’s that simple. Complain to the Governor who is supposed to uphold fair citizens rights.
      For all those citizens registered who do not vote, they will be considered a yes and that is absolutely the most undemocratic wackadoodle voting system in the entire world.
      It makes our democracy a sham.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You know when you get to Spotts straight? The road turns into a 4 lane road, right? Why does it bottle neck? More cars. Less cars would solve it. But every time it slows down or stops, it backs up traffic, right? Cruise ships are the same. More capacity ships would take more time than a lesser capacity ship. Thats why we need the dock, all of the people could come out with no stopping. That includes very old and handicapped and younger children. Simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      If we have less cars will we really have fewer driving though?

    • A. Caymanian says:

      More vehicles and more pedestrians can turn Grand Cayman into gridlock for everyone. Nobody likes to be crowded! Personally, I think more than two cruise ships at one time is TOO MANY! Please feel free to share your opinion.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Could Governor Roper please comment on whether the people of the Cayman Islands may have been misled? (Good governance, world class civil service, accountability and all that…)

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t believe anything from CPR until i see it. Roper was not Governor in 2012 and the Port Authority is not part of our civil service.

  12. J|) says:

    “and had agreed a passenger fee discount as an incentive and tendering”

    Same people who claim this is a better alternative to a port that we’ll own is the same lot who have a problem with giving concessions to developers such as dart group. Same group rave about the loss of $2 per head yet are ok with giving discounts.

    Oh the irony.

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s a consistent thread through your examples though – putting Cayman, Caymanians, and residents first, by ensuring that giveaways and sacrifices made on our behalf by our government result in a net benefit for us. The case against the piers is by far the better one when you measure it that way. There is not and never will be a consensus that the Caymanian people broadly support bending over backwards for foreign money and bullying companies. If we had smarter representatives they’d have called the cruise lines’ many bluffs. Instead we had to do that for them. Our politicians instead of leveraging our strength are telling us how weak and indebted we are to the cruise industry and how grateful we should be for their willingness to very expensively destroy the harbour, make life a living hell for everyone during the construction years and then, once we’re done with that, enjoy having a lower quality of life due to overtourism that benefits some businesses and some people (none of which or whom are actually dependent on cruise tourism), at the expense of everyone else.

      As for owning the piers, you bet we would. We would own the shortsightedness, the greed, the vanity, the nerve to destroy one of the jewels in our crown so that no future government or generation ever gets to make a different, better decision. We would own the look in children’s eyes when we have to tell them we killed all the fish and the coral in the marine park so people who don’t even live here can get off a giant boat faster and that’s why they can’t go on the submarine again. We would own the forevermore ugly shots of George Town’s milky white water. We would own the underhanded process by which the piers have been pushed on us even though opposition climbs higher every day and we would remember how some of us got what we wanted and most of us took the hit.

      Two words: HELL NO! This is not going to fly in the Cayman Islands anymore. If these piers go through, this community will be fractured for a generation. The only democratically legitimate outcome is for the few who would benefit, to acquiesce to the rights of everyone else, and find some other way to make a tiny bit more money as that’s all they would get from this project.

      Lastly, the solution negotiated for the ONE ship this is ALL about is EXACTLY what should be happening. We should be giving no more than the minimum we have to give to get that one ship to come. I knew there was a real way to solve the very small non-problem these politicians perceive there to be with our cruise tourism industry and there is: park the big ship up front, tender it faster, charge less.

      This is not even a remotely close case in any way. I hope enough people see that by 19 December.

  13. Anonymous says:

    To paraphrase Apocalypse Now, ‘Oh man… the bull***t piles up so fast, you need wings to stay above it.’ I think the referendum will be a waste of time because so much information is either being withheld or deliberately spun whatever the result is it’ll be open to legal challenges for the next 10 years. This is getting to be a bigger joke than Trump’s Presidency, Brexit and the on-going UK General Election.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Not only was this not leaked from the port authority, it was posted by save cayman four years ago and reposted by caymans port caymans future lobby group last week. This isn’t new, it shows they looked at tendering and then decided it couldn’t work.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Of course they can tender. In the wake of the Titantic disaster, the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) was first adopted in 1914 and applies to 99% of all ocean-going vessels, now updated to SOLAS 2017. Those portal doors, and retractable dock ramps are how the passengers get evacuated to board the lifeboats. The portals are designed for a specific standardized height to aid in lifeboat-assisted evacuations. It’s a free safety practice drill and a scenic, fun, and ecologically sensitive step that makes Cayman stops more special and cool. The Oasis ships being shipped elsewhere are also tendering in many cases – esp those destined to smaller Asian ports. It really doesn’t add that much more time. The bottlenecks are the narrow passages and stairs inside the ship leading to the exterior liner door and it is the same whether berthed or not. It has actually been stop-watched. The boat ride takes 5-10 mins only in each direction.

    • Anonymous says:

      oasis ships have never tendered anywhere. period.

      comparing tendering to a safety evacuation is just ridiculous.

      the same report says that tendering a larger ship will take in excess of 4 hours.

  16. Anonymous says:

    why the hell would the cruise lines want to spend $200 million building a port if they could just tender then??? come on!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Of course those ships can tender

    The cruise lines are just trying to convince countries to sign multi-decade contracts that leave all the benefits with them

    You think a multi-billion dollar cruise company cares about $200 million dollars?
    Thats chump change to them
    They want the ability to leverage power over jurisdictions
    That is all this is

    Cruise lines don’t care about our islands or our people
    If they could trap their customers on board that ship for the entire journey they would
    but no one wants to be stuck on those floating over-sized petri dishes for more than a day or 2 without breathing some fresh air

    We don’t need them, they need us

    Anyone who trusts those cruise companies deserves to be conned
    The second they think they stand to make a profit elsewhere they are gone with the wind

  18. Alden, CPR just did a mike drop.... says:

    Government Spin Doctors? Care to comment?

  19. Anonymous says:

    oh! oh!

  20. Anonymous says:

    they wanna build this dock for ONE SHIP SAILING IN THE CARIBBEAN!? oh my ducktales

    • Anonymous says:

      This looks like a proposal from Government hoping to get the ship to dock. The date on the bottom of the proposal 2011. Long before the 2013 elections. So it seems the UDP could not get an agreement. It obviously went no where because the ship never stopped here and still passes us by 8 years later. Again.. as the cruise lines said, they have looked at tendering and determined it cannot work for the larger ships. it would take about 4 hours to get off and another four to get back on.

    • Anonymous says:

      With all due respect you know that they made that up!

  21. Anonymous says:

    More lies from CIG getting exposed everyday.
    What will Alden and Moses say as a rebuttal when the emails are all there for us to read?

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