The authorities at Gopalpur Port Ltd (GPL), which is in the middle of some major expansion work, refused permission to a luxury cruise ship to harbour at its docks. They were approached by the liner's stevedoring agency and tour operator to allow the cruise vessel to harbour.
Apart from 1,000 workmen, a significant amount of onshore and offshore equipment has been deployed and continuous round-the-clock activity is underway. The port neither has any provision, nor is designed, for passenger movement.
“In line with its policy of international best practices in safety and security, the port informed J M Baxi & Travel Link Tour Operator well in advance about its inability to ensure passenger’s safety. They were accordingly advised to make safe alternative plans for their international visitors,” the GPL authorities said in a statement.
Factors such as inadequate facility for safe landing of passengers, ongoing construction activities, and limited immigration facilities would have been unacceptable to the port management as well as the Government of India. Permission to the ship to dock could have reflected poorly on Indian tourism, the statement added.