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When Will Their Ship Come in?

Tanah Ampo Port in Karangasem Struggles to Gain a Footing as a Cruise Ship Port

Tens of billions of Rupiahs have been spent on trying to turn the East Bali Port of Tanah Ampo into an international cruise terminal over the past decade, the port remains a non-viable destination for modern cruise vessels.

Balipost.com reports that the main pier, too short and unsuitable for berthing a large cruise ship, is also deteriorating and has found an alternate unintended use as a public fishing pier.

Construction of the new port commenced in 2006 with funds contributed by the Central Government, the Provincial Government of Bali, and the Regency of Karangasem. The creation and payment of the sea-based facilities was financed by Jakarta, while the building of the terminal and shore structures paid by the Province, and the Regency paid for the land to facilitate the Port.

But, because the pier is too short and, in any case, exposed to the ravages of the open sea, large cruise ships bypass Tanah Ampo and head instead for the Port of Benoa in south Bali.

During the recent eruption of Mount Agung, the Port of Tanah Ampo found temporary use as Coordinating Post for Relief (POSKO) for evacuees from the slope of the threatening volcano.

Despite these many setbacks, the Regency of Karangasem continues to seek funding from Jakarta that will allow the creation of a breakwater and a landing station for tenders traveling between shore and anchored cruise ships.

Rp. 49 billion has been allocated by Jakarta for the next step in the port’s development that will include a 135-meter breakwater on the western side of the bay that will provide a shield for a small dock for cruise ships' tenders to berth. 

To date, the Central Government has expended Rp. 56.2 billion on docks and breakwater facilities, the Province has spent Rp. 16.6 billion on the terminal, and the Regency of Karangasem Rp. 2.625 billion of land acquisition.

Meanwhile, the ongoing rapid and modern expansion of the Port of Benoa in South Bali to accommodate large cruise vessels makes the future of Tanah Ampo as a port of call for large cruise ships increasingly doubtful.

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