Borders cruising to tourism boost from the high seas

June 25 2007'MV Island Sky in the Stockholm archipelago
June 25 2007'MV Island Sky in the Stockholm archipelago

floors Castle will be on the itinerary when passengers disembark from the first cruise liner to call at Eyemouth, after the town’s harbour received approval to receive such vessels.

Ms Island Sky, pictured, will anchor off the harbour on August 19 and tender passengers to the pontoon on the middle pier.

The MS Island Sky has a maximum passenger capacity of 114, accommodated in 57 luxury suites. Owned and operated by global cruise company Noble Caledonia, the ship has a crew of 75.

The accreditation as a Department of Transport-approved port comes after months of hard work by Eyemouth Harbour Trust (EHT). As such, the harbour can now accept cruise passengers onto the pontoon and quayside.

EHT’s details will shortly be forwarded to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for inclusion on the UK approved ports list.

MS Island Sky’s visit to Eyemouth is part of its 13-day Islands on the Edge tour of the British Isles, which starts from Tilbury on August 17.

After Eyemouth, it will then continue its journey north to Orkney, St Kilda, Skye, Iona, Rathmullen, Arran, Scilly, and Channel Islands Sark and Alderney before ending its journey in Portsmouth.

EHT chairman Grahame Sinclair said staff have trained to handle this kind of business and seized the opportunity with both hands.

“We aim to prove that Eyemouth is a town of great interest to visiting passengers and that this is the beginning of more cruise ships making a stopover in the bay,” he said.

For passengers who wish to explore further afield, there is the planned trip to Floors Castle and EHT will be organising a meet-and-greet party to assist any passengers who wish to stay in Eyemouth for the afternoon.

Borders MSP John Lamont commented: “This is an important development in the history of the harbour and one that will see it play a key part in the tourism industry in the region for years to come.

“With tourism becoming more and more important to the Borders economy, the ability to accept cruise passengers to the area will undoubtedly provide a boost to the local economy.

“I hope that this is just the start, as we can now look to link Eyemouth to other destinations across the area.”

Local MP and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore added: “I want to congratulate Eyemouth Harbour Trust on securing accreditation from the Department of Transport which means cruise ships will now be able to visit the port. Diversification of the port economy is critical and this is a significant development.”