Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but since MP Steve Georganas wants some questions answered regarding the possibility of cruise ships calling at Glenelg I'll post it here. If the mods want to start a new thread not a problem.
Glenelg vs Outer Harbour
I think it is time that we started a healthy debate on whether Glenelg would make a better entry point into Adelaide for cruise passengers than Outer Harbour and its Overseas Passenger Terminal.
Obviously there are going to be many pros and cons on both sides and I would like anyone on the forum to add to those that I have listed here below so that we can make a balanced judgement on this hot topic.
I have decided that to judge Outer Harbour fairly I needed to include Port Adelaide and Semaphore into the equation. It might sound unfair, three against one, but I thought Outer Harbour being a commercial port and being so inhospitable and lacking in the touristy things it needed plenty of support. Glenelg on the other hand, is touristy but lacks the infrastructure for welcoming passengers to shore, but since the debate is for a marina and facilities for a possible ferry terminal (come landing spot for cruise passengers) we need to prove why Glenelg is a better option than what we already have.
My position: I am not against ships calling at Glenelg. I would very much like to see a terminal down at the bay, though, I would be less interested in seeing ships anchoring or staying stationary at a distance and tendering pax to shore.
I am also of the position that if the government and Flinders Ports invested more money at Outer Harbour I would be more than happy. Actually, I lean towards this option since the infrastructure is already there and it would need only some tweaking.
For Glenelg I would envisage facilities that welcomed the largest cruise ships currently around to come alongside at an expanded marina. This would entail dredging a shipping channel and a turning basin of possibly 400 or so metres in diameter, constructing a wharf (pier) between 350 - 400 metres in length to attract one Post-Panamax ship and a terminal building with ancillary facilities.
Before we get to this point a project of this kind would have to pass stringent conditions. An EIS comes to mind first since it would be constructed in a delicate area (sea grasses and fish habitats, etc.). The EIS would be part of a feasibility study that included financial statements showing who would pay for what (Public - Private). This would also be true of a Monaco-styled marina.
The other option, which seems to be favoured by MP Steve Georganas and maybe one or two cruise lines, is to have the cruise ships anchor out in the bay. Some would drop anchor, others, depending on the sea state, could use their dynamic positioning system linked to the bow thrusters and azipods (azimuthing pods) to stay stationary. The margin of error can be less than a metre with this system. This would resolve the environmental issue of damage to the seabed. As most mid-size to large cruise ships have draughts of around 7 to 8.5 metres (not counting QM2 which has a draught of 10 metres) and require a clearance from the sea floor of 10 percent (or more) of their draughts to manoeuvre efficiently, most ships would find themselves at approximately 3600 metres (2 nautical miles) from shore at the 10 metre depth, give or take 100 - 200 metres towards shore. However, this is only true if the sea floor is flat and bare. If you have seagrasses and other obstacles the clearance would have to be much greater, at least several metres to keep propellers and azipods from getting tangled, damaging ship and seafloor. Whether the distance is more or less than the 2 nautical miles it is still a substantial distance from shore when tendering (shuttling or ferrying in other words) especially if the sea state is not flat or conducive to a comfortable ride. This raises the question “what would happen if the sea is rough, will the cruise ship move up the coast and dock at Outer Harbour or will it bypass Adelaide all together since no arrangements were made beforehand with Flinders Ports?” I would think Flinders Ports would still be happy to accommodate them, unless of course the docks at Outer Harbour were already in use by other vessels, then that would constitute a problem. Another issue with anchoring or being stationary out at sea is that the ship would most probably have to forego any re-provisioning (food, sanitaries, etc.), refuelling and discharging of waste. Barges could be used for the re-fuelling and discharging (which would be costly and impractical) and the ship's tenders for re-provisioning (again probably impractical). The other issue is that you need somewhere on the coast where the pax need to land. In an expanded marina a small terminal building would suffice to welcome and farewell tourists. Of course, then you would need good road access and parking facilities at this place for buses, limos and taxis, and possibly trucks to bring supplies to the tenders.
Since Outer Harbour is already up-and-running, it has a good advantage, however it loses much of its advantage when you take into consideration its greater distance from Adelaide, its inhospitable surroundings, its lack of retail and cultural facilities and its infrequent public transport. All this could be changed easily with a little more investment. Wharf 1 and 2 are designated for cruise ships while Wharf 3 and 4 are for vehicle carriers. If the first two wharves where cleared of imported vehicles during the cruise season it would make a big difference. Flinders Ports I recall were interested in developing Wharf 9 adjacent to the new bulk grain terminal west of Pelican Point. I think it was going to be used as a common user berth for RORO (roll-on roll-off) or possibly the defunct livestock exports. Anyway, it would be good if that was a berth for imported vehicles while the exports (Holdens) remained at 3 and 4. Not sure if this would be viable. If a Glenelg plan was gaining support (and looking likely to go ahead) I would think Flinders Ports would fast track improvements for cruise lines and do everything it could not to lose cruise ship revenue (port fees, etc.).
The improvements I would like to see at Outer Harbour are:
- 1. Restaurant and cafe facilities added to the Overseas Passenger Terminal to be used all-year-round.
2. Conversion of some floorspace into conference facilities, used for 8-months a year.
3. Beautification of the terminal surrounds from bitumen to grass, trees and other plants to welcome tourists and locals.
4. The inclusion of pathways, benches, tables (for picnics), chairs and public art.
5. More parking space for visitors and workers.
6. Conversion of the old Pilot’s House into either a small museum, art gallery or a cafe.
7. Access to the terminal to visitors all-year-round including when cruise ships visit (this would entail changing the security conditions).
8. Options for a further terminal building on Wharf 1 that could be easily converted to multi-purpose uses.
9. More frequent buses and (also longer) trains during cruise ship visits.
10. Improvements to viewing areas for visitors on the southern revetment (breakwater) including paving or asphalting the revetment pathway.
As you cannot compare Outer Harbour to Glenelg for shopping or dining, Port Adelaide and Semaphore come into the frame. They are easily reachable by bus or train. They may not be as glamourous (for the lack of words) as Glenelg, but they too with the right investment would become more attractive. Port Adelaide already has several half decent museums which should be upgraded and expanded. Semaphore could mirror Glenelg for shopping and dining. The permanency of a tram line from Port Adelaide to Glanville station and Semaphore would also indicate to tourists there are things to do and see at both ends and have the option to travel to Adelaide (this is without having to extend the tram line down Port Road). Unfortunately some mistakes have been made at Port Adelaide at the expense of heritage. Heritage and culture is a prerequisite for tourism. They also should go hand-in-hand with good development that includes places to eat, entertain, learn, rest and live.
PS. Please add to this.