August 8, 2018

Three groups recommend cruise ship limits in Rockland

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An aerial view of Rockland's port, which can dock ships sized up to 215 feet in length.

Rockland City Council is considering limits on cruise ships proposed by three advisory groups.

The PenBay Pilot reported the Rockland Economic Development Commission, Comprehensive Planning Commission and Harbor Management Commission recommended no more than two vessels per day and no more than 500 berths per ship, with the possibility of factoring crew into the numbers. One vessel with a 3,000-passenger capacity has already contracted for 2019.

In May, the Rockland council received a petition signed by about 100 Rockland residents that asked the city to place a moratorium on allowing cruise ships with more than 250 passengers from coming into port.

"A cruise ship can be great fun, but a cruise ship can be deadly to a small town or city," Joan Wright, who presented the petition, told the council. For 2018, Rockland's cruise ship schedule began April 4 and runs through Oct. 19.

The largest cruise ship expected is the 993-foot Queen Mary II on Sept. 25. The 215-foot American Cruise lines Independence, with a capacity of 150 passengers, is scheduled to arrive at the public landing 17 times. The 365-foot American Cruise Lines Constitution, with 170 passengers, is scheduled to anchor and tender in 12 times. Nine other cruise ship stops are also scheduled in Rockland

In June, CruiseMaine, an organization created in 2002 to promote "sustainable cruise ship tourism," reported it planned to work with 10 Maine communities to evaluate the potential of growing cruise ship traffic and evaluating its possible impact on destination communities. The Working Waterfront reported the communities under evaluation are now seeing or hope to see cruise ship traffic — Eastport, Bar Harbor, Castine, Bucksport, Searsport, Belfast, Camden and Rockland, Boothbay Harbor, Bath and Portland.


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