“There is an overall increase in cruise vessel visits to Australia, around Australia and in Western Australia. Passengers identify Broome as a preferred destination, hence Broome and WA are receiving increased cruise vessel visits. Broome’s remote location and scenic coast is a big attraction for cruise passengers,” said Kevin Shellack, CEO of the Kimberley Ports Authority.
Broom is expecting 30 medium and large ships in 2019, and 29 smaller vessels, he said.
The overall cruise numbers should be increasing in the future as a large-scale industrial plan will see the channel optimized for larger ships, including dredging and widening the channel.
There will also be a new mobile gangway installed to improve passenger transfer times.
“The challenge facing the port is the large tidal range of 10.5 meters and the ability to berth large vessels at different tides and accommodate passenger disembarkation at various tides,” said Shellack. “The two current projects for an improved above deck gangway and deepening and widening the approach channel will assist in resolving some of the tidal issues facing passenger vessels.”
In the long-term, the port authority is studying whether there is a business case to install a floating pontoon, which would accommodate passenger transfers from small- and medium-sized ships during most tide conditions.