She came, we saw, she left – the words of hotelier Hazel Wilmot after the P&O cruise ship Arcadia left James Bay without allowing passengers ashore.
Questions are now being asked about why the island traders lost the chance of tourist income, despite “millpond” conditions at the landing steps. It is understood some passengers were too elderly to be able to manage conditions at the wharf.
“We were left with catering for 1,800 passengers and a mini market, with no buyers. Such is life,” said Hazel, who owns the Consulate Hotel in Jamestown.
She declined to rush to judgment without knowing the reason for the failure.
She cited the case of the Aurora, whose captain declined to land passengers even though the sea was calm – because he knew conditions were due to worsen later in the day and some might be stranded ashore.
The adults-only Arcadia stayed in the bay long enough to pick up eight passengers who were joining the ship at St Helena.
Earlier this month, councillors were told there was a shortfall in funding needed to build a breakwater to reduce the risk of the island losing income – up to £10,000 a day – when passengers cannot land.
I think we should also express our sympathy for the ship’s passengers, who missed out on what would doubtless have been the highlight of their holiday – seeing the delights of St Helena!
John Turner, St Helena