Panaji, April 5 (IANS) Goa could soon be a leading ocean cruise stopover, with a dedicated berth being developed at its only major port, a senior official said Thursday.
Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) P. Mara Pandian also said that development of the dedicated berth for cruise vessels was necessary because foreign tourists disembarking from their cruise-liners had complained of allergy from coal and ore pollution.
"The berthing facility will be ready in two months," Pandian told the media here.
He said the port authorities were in talks with a couple of global ocean cruise operators on using the Goa port as a stopover on the cruise liner itinerary.
"In the last fiscal, 22 cruise vessels called at the port with 19,650 passengers as against 21 vessels with 9,371 passengers in 2010-11," said Pandian.
He said the new cruise terminal berth was being constructed especially for large international cruiseb liners which have a draft of 9.5 meters.
While Goa is one of the most popular beach tourism destinations in the country, cruise liners had skipped the state due to pollution at the port.
The Goa port is one of India's biggest clearing houses for iron ore and coal, both of which result in hazardous dust and soot.
"Due to the coal and ore handling some foreigners had complained of allergy when their cruise vessels berthed in Goa in the past, but the new berth will change all that," Pandian said.
--indo-asian news service
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