30/06/2009

Belfast Cruise Vessel In 'Deep Water'

As the latest cruise liner to visit NI headed into Belfast Lough in near perfect weather conditions this morning it was revealed that it would be using a new multi-million pound dock facility for the first time.

The Crown Princess arrived on Tuesday for the official opening of the £10m extension of the Stormont Wharf at the Port of Belfast.

The wharf will operate as the port's main cruise ship berth, with almost 40 vessels carrying more than 60,000 passengers expected to visit this year.

The Crown Princess brings over 3,000 people to Northern Ireland.

Against the backdrop of the commercial super cruise liner, the NI Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy unveiled the commemorative plaque on what is now the longest deep-water berth in Ireland.
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The Minister said: "Belfast is one of the island's key maritime gateways and the new extension at Stormont Wharf will help ensure that it maintains and builds upon that position.

"It is also highly appropriate that this opening coincides with the visit of the Crown Princess commercial cruise liner, which docked in Belfast this morning with 3,100 passengers on board," he said.

"Over the past 10 years Belfast Harbour Commissioners and the Cruise Belfast initiative have developed Belfast's reputation into one of the most popular cruise destinations on these islands.

"Stormont Wharf will enable the Port to improve the welcome that visitors receive when they disembark."

Minister Murphy added: "Despite the current economic difficulties, I commend Belfast Harbour Commissioners for their vision in continuing to take the long-term capital investment decisions that will secure the port's primary position."

(BMcC)

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