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Pier Pressure

Karangasem Lawmakers Call on Regent to Bring East Bali Tanah Ampo Cruise Port Up to Operating Standard

(5/5/2013) The Karangasem House of Representatives (DPRD-Karangasem) is calling on their regent to find a solution to make the Tanah Ampo International Cruise Terminal operational.

The poorly conceived and under-constructed pier and supporting shore facilities remain largely unused as passenger ships, wary of the poor reputation enjoyed by the facilities at Tanah Ampo have diverted to Benoa Harbor in South Bali.

As reported by The Bali Post, local fishermen now use a pier that was intended to welcome international cruise passengers.

The chairman of the DPRD-Karangasem, Gede Dana, launched his call for a solution to make Tanah Ampo a viable cruise port on Friday, May 3, 2013.

Dana’s pronouncement echoes a similar one made by legislators when the Regent of Karangasem delivered his report of the region's budget in 2012.

Another member of the DPRD-Karangasem, Nyoman Sadra, said the port was built six years ago, but is yet to function, with cruise ships unable or unwilling to bring their passengers to the port.

Sadra said that several trial operations have taken place at Tanah Ampo in which ships anchored off shore had used their tenders to bring passengers to the new pier. This method, however, is unpopular give the advanced age of many cruise passengers and the poorly constructed transitional pontoon built by the regency.

Sadra complained that the Tanah Ampo Port's state of suspended-animation was also affecting local traders who had hoped to sell handicrafts to from the Manggis traditional art market. Sadra complained: “The cruise passenger port isn’t functioning, so how can the traditional market operate? I had heard of plans to establish a traditional market, but up till now there’s been no change. The art mark is now overgrown. Part of the roof at the market has caved in, but nobody cares.”

Sadra warned that if the cruise pier were left in its current state it would eventually fall into decay. On at least two occasions a transitional pontoon has been constructed at the pier, but they have failed and been destroyed by the waves. The large amounts of money spent on the port, he lamented, have been wasted.

The money spent on the Tanah Ampo International Cruise Project is estimated to be more than Rp. 100 billion (US$10 million). The large passenger terminal remains unused. The entrance gates, made of steel, are now rusted and broken.

Sadra added: "The Regent should complete this program in order that it can operate in a maximum manner. This must become a priority.

In response, the Regent of Karangasem, I Wayan Geredeg, said that in the beginning (of the project) it was difficult to manage the project controlled from Jakarta. Now, however, the situation in clear because the President has ordered his Ministers to complete the project.

Geredeg did not commit on when the cruise terminal would be operational. Still unclear, also, is who will have managerial responsibility for the port.

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