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Bad Weather Affects Funchal Ports First ‘Turnaround’ Operation

The Administration of the Ports of Madeira (APRAM) has revealed that the first ‘cruise liner turnaround,’ planned for today in the port of Funchal was cancelled due to bad weather.

In a statement, APRAM stated that TUI and the ship’s commander of “Mein Schiff Herz” cancelled the turnaround operation (disembarkation and embarkation of passengers) for today and left at 10 pm last night to avoid the worst of the weather.

The fact that Madeira Airport has had to cancel so many flights, including those with passengers who were about to start or return home from their cruise made the whole operation unfeasible.

However, the weather has affected the airport and ‘airport functionality is critical for the effectiveness of a full turnaround, which involves the disembarkation of all passengers at the port who are flying home and those arriving by air and starting their cruise from Funchal.

What should have happened, is that the “Mein Schiff Herz” would have docked, preferably at pier three on Wednesday at 14:00, stayed in Madeira for 48 hours before leaving early afternoon on Friday.  This, coinciding with the arrival of direct flights from Germany on Thursdays, meant that passengers had time to stay in Madeira before boarding and after leaving the ship.

APRAM’s Facebook page states that ‘airport functionality is fundamental to the effectiveness of a full turnaround that involves the embarkation and disembarkation of all passengers in port.  The airport’s operationality constraints were known, and taken into account by both partners, however, Madeira is of strategic interest to TUI, and the ports capability to perform this type of turnaround is of definite interest to the Regional Government. The memo concluded by saying that ‘the port of Funchal had everything ready and that both TUI and ‘Mein Schiff Herz ‘teams were well prepared for the turnaround of approximately 1,000 – 1,500 passengers.’

Despite the setback and that APRAM had even rented equipment for this first and unprecedented port turnaround, they have planned a further ‘operation’ with the same ship early next year.

Samantha Gannon

info at madeira-weekly.com

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