16 February 2009

Big ship, small minds

Today the large P&O cruise ship Arcadia called at Port Adelaide.

I went there to meet some English friends, one of whom is 87 years old, who were visiting Adelaide for the first time.

Arrangements, or lack thereof, for disembarking passengers left much to be desired. A wire fence security cordon extending well beyond the passenger terminal (and my comprehension) added to the third world ambience. I took the photo from the security barrier. The passenger terminal is the white building on the right, about 200m from the barrier.

The port security staff, while courteous, lacked the authority and perhaps the desire to assist those passengers who had not booked tours or taxis. It took me several phone calls and about 45 minutes to obtain permission to drive to the terminal and collect my friends, who'd been left waiting outside the building.

One problem was that nobody with a skerrick of authority seemed to have easy access to a passenger list, let alone a list of those who'd actually disembarked. This is a major deficiency in security arrangements.

Another was that the security cordon was crack-brainedly large. Why does Port Adelaide need a large fenced off compound surrounding its terminal building when other terminals eg ports such as San Francisco and Singapore and every international airport I've seen, don't?

On reflection it seems as if the port operators are trying to dissuade cruise ships from visiting Adelaide. If they were serious about supporting tourism in SA they could do a few simple things such as putting information on the web and allowing people meeting passengers to register in advance so that they can meet their friends without having to wait in limbo for an indefinite time.

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