VIPA Board Looks At Bringing ‘Quantum’ Class Cruise Ships To Frederiksted

A cruise ship visits the Fredericksted pier on St. Croix. A proposal being studied by VIPA would bring Quantum Class ships to Frederiksted.  (John Baur photo)
A cruise ship visits the Fredericksted pier on St. Croix. A proposal being studied by VIPA would bring Quantum Class ships to Frederiksted. (John Baur photo)

A feasibility study approved Thursday by V.I. Port Authority board members will look at the possibility of bringing larger, Quantum-class cruise ships to the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility in Frederiksted.

While the pier can’t fit the larger size vessels right now, board members said at a meeting Thursday that interest from the cruise lines – who want to bring more visitors to St. Croix – has made them take a second look. The board approved a proposal from its marine consultant, Moffat and Nichol, to begin the study, which will cost $86,500 and will be paid for from VIPA’s fiscal year 2019 capital projects budget.

The largest vessels currently berthing at the pier are the Radiance class ships, with a capacity of 2,501 passengers. The Quantum class, the third largest in the world, could bring more than 4,900 visitors per call to St. Croix and the analysis will show what improvements are needed to the pier to make it happen.

Describing the move as “better for the overall economy” of the territory, VIPA’s acting executive director Damian Cartwright said there are three options for the facility – which includes the possibility of mooring the larger ships offshore to minimize dredging – as laid out in the Moffat and Nichol proposal. But any of the three choices would require construction.

Cartwright said the study will determine the most cost-effective option.

Board members Marvin Forbes, Carol Thomas-Jacobs, Jose Penn, Nelson Petty, Lee Steiner and Yvonne Thraen favor of moving ahead with the study.

Board members also took the following actions at Thursday’s meeting:

– Ratified a Jan. 25 poll vote approving a $112,949, three-year contract with Oshkosh for performance inspection and servicing the Airport Rescue and Firefighter vehicles at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas.

– Approved a $1.7 million task order to Lemartec for provide labor and materials to repair the CEKA air cargo building.

– Approved a $549,761 task order to Lemartec for architectural and engineering services for hurricane repair damages, including: CEKA and Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (HERA) land-side & apron lighting repairs; VIPA’s St. Thomas Administrative Building repairs; and the CEKA and HERA terminal interior repairs.

– Approved a $74,960 task order for American Infrastructure Development to extend construction administration services for the ongoing apron rehabilitation project at Rohlsen Airport.

– Authorized another task order for American Infrastructure Development for professional services including project management, inspection and quality assessments for the fourth phase of Rohlsen’s apron rehabilitation project.

– Awarded a $197,285 contract to Marco St. Croix, Inc. to demolish the hurricane-damaged general cargo building at the Wilfred “Bomba” Allick Port and Transshipment Center on St. Croix.

– Approved a contract addendum, not to exceed $196,262, to Atkins for professional engineering services for the modification of construction documents for the Gordon A. Finch Molasses Pier Terminal and Roll On/Roll Off Dock Project, and to assist with the rebidding phase.