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Minta Ampun! Tanah Ampo!

East Baliís Cruise Terminal Ambitions Sacrificed to Incompetence?

(3/1/2013) The Tanah Ampo Cruise Terminal in East Bali at Karangasem is increasingly becoming a source of acute embarrassment for that regency.

Jointly financed by the Central government (Rp. 90 billion), the province of Bali (Rp. 14.9 billion) and the regency who donated roads and land (value Rp. 5.99 billion) – the resulting facility has proven less than popular with cruise operators and the surrounding community at Tanah Ampo.

Poorly planned and with apparently little input from those knowledgeable in the needs of the cruise industry, the 154-meter-long finger pier is sorely inadequate to handle the size of the large cruise ships now calling on Bali. To remedy this shortcoming, the central government is promising the estimated additional Rp. 228 billion (US$2.28 million) needed to extend and strengthen the pier to a more serviceable 350-meters.

Should the government come forward with the additional funding some fear it will only be a case of “throwing good money after bad” as the longer pier will still not address the need for a massive breakwater needed to provide safe harbor on a shore line exposed to high seas for extended periods of the year.

Those familiar with ship’s operations also shake their heads in disbelief at the wasteful and amateurish approach local officials used in constructing the Tanah Ampo Cruise Terminal. In addition to building a dock wholly inadequate to the cruise ships the facility aspires to serve, questions are also raised about the shoddy floating jetty or pontoon meant to receive ships’ tenders, the placement of lighting appliance and bollard, and the water depth surrounding the pier.

The floating jetty has failed during a passenger disembarkation and been destroyed twice by high seas. 

This comedy of errors continues ashore where the construction of the passenger terminal is anything but "user friendly" - underlined by the fact that  access roads to the terminal by large passenger buses deployed for shore tours are too small.

Unimpressed with both the construction and management of the Tanah Ampo Cruise Terminal, local residents surrounding the port have stubbornly refused request by regency offciials to surrender farm lands for the construction of a parking lot, claiming promises of a profit share in the operation of the unpopular port represent a less-than-interesting financial inducement.

Meanwhile, while Tanah Ampo officials wasted time and money on their trial-and-error method of cruise ship terminal management, the port of Benoa in South Bali has been reaping great benefit from its protected harbor, superior location and its more pro-active approach to dealing with the international cruise industry.

While only one ship has anchored at Tanah Ampo in the first two months of 2013, during the same period Benoa has handled 10, targeting another 28 ships’ visit through the end of the year. Apparently, no cruise ships visits are scheduled at Tanh Ampo through the end of the year.

Ironically, many of the ships visiting Benoa in 2013 are doing so after cancelling plans to call at the troubled Tanah Ampo Cruise Terminal.

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