Ship mystery

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Where have all the cruise ships gone? Two years ago I logged more than 50 ships visiting Leith. Last year that number was reduced by about half, although we were bombarded by local politicians about the value to the local economy of such visits.

We were also told in a statement from Forth Ports Authority (FPA) that bookings were good for the current year! Yet so far this year we have not had a single cruise ship coming to Leith. We hear of plans to improve port facilities, but little seems to happen, except for the small bucket dredger seen in Newhaven occasionally.

Leith is known to be unsuitable for the giant vessels now in general use, but is well-suited for medium to small cruise ships, although not liked by some companies because of the lock gates entry to the harbour, the remnants of an outmoded and outdated system built by our forefathers.

Could it be that they are being diverted to other ports owned/operated by FPA, which scrapped plans to further develop Ocean Terminal because it was “too costly”?

We have recently been told of plans to develop tiny Newhaven as a cruise destination for the giant ships to unload by tender while anchoring off-shore outside Leith.

But at the same time we are told of other plans for Granton and Rosyth, and now of a gigantic development to replace Cockenzie power station with a new cruise port to cost up to £300 million to make it the cruise centre for the Forth Estuary that will take ten to 15 years to implement.

There are many ideas being floated, but as yet still no money to pay for such grandiose plans. Meanwhile, it seems that plans for Leith’s Ocean Terminal are being left to stagnate in company with the Royal Yacht, a possible berth for HMS Edinburgh, and a converted floating boutique hotel (MV Windsor Castle) once they get round to agreement on when, where and costs.

Will FPA give us a definitive statement as to their intentions?

RW CATTELL

Western Harbour Way

Edinburgh