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Beware of Rank Amateurs

Editorial: Wasted Time, Wasted Money and Wasted Opportunities Will Anyone Be Called to Answer for The Tanah Ampo Cruise Terminal Project?

(4/22/2012) The long-promised International Cruise Terminal at Tanah Ampo in Karangasem, East Bali, originally scheduled for completion in 2010, is a project conceived and built in the most amateurish fashion imaginable.

The original dock was built apparently with little or no consultation with the ship operators or their local port partners it intends to serve.

The actual dock is only 154-meters long, a length far too short to handle the majority of cruise ships that visit to Bali. Moreover, the lamps illuminating the finger pier are standard street lamps, curiously affixed to the very edge of the pier where they are certain to be sheared off by the gunwales and docking lines of the first cruise ship that manages to berth at Tanah Ampo.

A floating pontoon meant to be a transitional platform between ship tenders and the new pier was never marine-worthy and, as a consequence, was smashed to smithereens just weeks after its initial installation. A second, replacement pontoon weathered little better against the strong waves of Bali’s eastern shore. The two pontoons failures have caused the cancellation/diversion of at least one ship visit and seriously disrupted another.

The passenger terminal facility meant to welcome passengers to Bali was designed instead to facilitate local craftsmen’s desire for a lucrative handicraft market. Little reference twas made to the needs and demands of modern cruise ships. The distance walked from the pier ship to bus is both long and circuitous; generally unsuitable for the advanced age of many of cruise passengers.

Parking lots and bus boarding areas have also been badly planned, making its difficult to efficiently embark and disembark passengers leaving on bus tours.

There are also worrysome reports of angry efforts by the community currond the port to block or hinder busses leaving or entering the port.

Obviously, we are not impressed. And by all reports, neither are the cruise operators who are turning their back on Tanah Ampo and heading for the much-improved port of Benoa in south Bali.

The Bupati of Karangasem, Wayan Gredeg, says that he is seeking additional funding of US$27 million to extend the Tanah Ampo pier to 308 meters by 2014 begs questions of how much more must the public pay and how long must they wait while the regency's administrators clumsily connect the dots while trying to decipher out how exactly to serve the cruise industry.

Why inept officials approved such a port, inadequate to the needs of the cruise industry and incapable of fulfilling Bali's cruise ambitions is a question best left to others to ponder. Corruption of funds? Who knows? But, clearly, there was at the very least a basic corruption of purpose committed in the way that Tanah Ampo planners clumsingly went about their job.

And before more good money is thrown after bad, there’s an elephant in the room in the current proposition that screams to be acknowledged. The improvement in Bali’s southern port of Benoa may have already rendered wholly inconsequential any further amateurish forays in maritime construction by Karangasem’s administrators.

Another "end game" concern is the inescapable fact that the Tanah Ampo International Cruise Passenger Terminal will never work without a very substantial expenditure for the construction of a breakwater that would allow ships to berth near the an open seashore regularly pummelled by heavy winds and large waves.

When it comes to Tanah Ampo the Rule of the “6 Ps” applies: Professional Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Sadly, in the words of one international cruise ship operator who surveyed Tanah Ampo facility: “When it comes to passenger cruise ports there are two ways of doing things: the ‘right way’ and the ‘Karangasem way.’

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[Missing the Boat; Missing the Point]

[Who’s in Charge?]

[Blaming Mother Nature]

[Tanah Ampo: Not Ready for Royalty]

[What’s Up Dock?]

[Bali’s Cruise Ports Found Lacking]

[A Pier without Peer]