INVERCLYDE Council is urging port company Peel Ports to “urgently reconsider” a plan to let cruise ships ‘park’ at Greenock during the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillors this afternoon discussed, in private, the prospect of vessels being laid up on the Clyde while the cruise industry waits for trips to start again.
Inverclyde Council leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “As an area, cruise ships are a strong growth market and one that, post covid-19, we would expect to continue to contribute significantly to the Scottish economy.
“We have also as a community shown that we are there for people in a crisis and that Greenock will always be a port of safe harbour. At this time though we cannot support a proposal to lay-up cruise ships on the Clyde and we would urge that any proposals are reconsidered as a matter of urgency.
“At this time during a global pandemic and health crisis it wouldn’t be appropriate to put a significant number of people into one location which has the potential to put strain on our public health services.
“We do not want to put anyone, including the crew of the cruise ships, into any harm and it is crucially important that nothing is done that interferes with the stay-at-home messages.
“We want many more people to visit and discover the amazing things we have in Inverclyde, but our message is ‘not right now’. The council’s chief executive will be writing to the chief executive of Peel Ports to confirm the council’s opposition to this and to urge them to reconsider any proposals at this time.”
A spokesperson for Peel Ports, commenting before the council discussed the issue, said “Due to the travel disruption associated with Covid-19, cruise companies have enquired about safe and temporary anchorages for vessels not in operation.
“These vessels have minimal crew and no passengers on board. Similar, to the east coast, where four cruise ships are at anchor, we continue to offer and provide safe anchorages for vessels on the Clyde.
“We would never make agreements that jeopardise the health and safety of staff, residents or local communities and remain fully complaint with guidance issued by health and maritime authorities at all times.”
Peel Ports are marketing various locations, including the Clyde, as places where vessels can lay up, on their website.