While the Port of Benoa Bali remains intact for cruise ships after a massive fire at the port last Monday, tourism players in Bali say there’s work to be done to address the safety concerns that have emerged from the incident.
A fire broke out at the port last week, destroying the boats of at least 39 fishermen. The cause of the fire has not been determined at press time.
In a statement, the state-owned port operator Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) III assured that all operational activities at Port of Benoa were safe and running smoothly.
I Wayan Eka Saputra, Pelindo III’s regional general manager for Banyuwangi, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, explained that the extinguishing process did not interfere with port activities, including where cruise traffic is concerned.
In fact, the Equanimity Cruise successfully docked on the east pier on the day the fire broke, he said.
He explained: “The jetty at Port of Benoa has a U shape – the west zone is for fishing boats, and the east dock is (for cruises) and cargo/container vessels. Only the west zone was affected.”
Ida Bagus Lolec Surakusuma, managing director, Pacific World Nusantara, remarked that the fire has had no impact on cruise business.
Ketut Sediya Yasa, managing director of Destination Asia Indonesia, also saw minimal impact as it is now low season for cruising.
However, he expects the authorities to communicate to the international community about the fire and tighten safety measures at the harbour.
Otherwise, cruise operators are likely to reconsider docking at Benoa, he opined.
“Communication is vital to convince cruise operators to make a call here,” said Yasa.