Port Authority Director Reports Progress

Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe discusses renovations while walking through the baggage claim area in Cyril E. King Airport. (Source photo by Bethaney Lee)

Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe pointed to what he characterized as several positive developments, during his monthly executive director’s report, including the return of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the arrival of funding for Ann E. Abramson Marine Terminal projects.

“We are pleased to report that Royal Caribbean Cruise Line have returned to our shores,” Dowe’s report reads. “On July 6, Royal Caribbean returned to Austin ‘Babe’ Monsanto Marine Terminal. The return of ships to our shores was a welcoming one, everything went on without a hitch, there were no incidents reported.”

As for funding, Dowe wrote that $200,000 had been received from the V.I government to use for a new service pier and repairs to the Ann E. Abramson Marine Terminal.

The Legislature authorized the funding through Act 8447. When Port Authority officials were asked to testify before the Legislature in March about the need for the funds, Assistant Executive Director and Director of Engineering Damian Cartwright said plans include the replacement of the pier with a new 80- by 15-foot pier.

During the hearing, Cartwright said the south side of the pier “is primarily used by businesses conducting cruise ship excursions and tours, fishermen, and other small vessel operators. It was damaged during the 2017 storms and has greatly deteriorated since then, as it is exposed to saltwater and open-air elements.”

Though the authority, like several other governmental agencies and institutions, is combating staff shortages, Dowe wrote the authority’s projects remained on track. (See here, here and here.)

“Under the stewardship of the Governing Board, and with the support of the VIPA team, we continue to work hard. Every day is an adjustment from personnel to operation matters, however, we continue to push through,” Dowe said.

The USVI flag flies high as a moko jumbie greets passengers disembarking from Celebrity Edge on Tuesday, July 20 at the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Terminal in Crown Bay on St. Thomas. The ship arrived from Nassau, Bahamas, and was to call on St. Maarten on Wednesday before returning to its home port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Source photo by Sian Cobb)