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All ready...No 1 wharf at Timaru has been repaired and upgraded for Seabourn Encore's visit in January. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Chris Tobin

Four cruise-ship visits will be made to Timaru over the summer, with three vessels each having a capacity for 500-600 passengers.

The first of them, the Seabourn Encore, is due in Timaru on January 14.

During its last visit in February 2017, high winds forced the Seabourn Encore from its moorings at No 1 wharf, with bollards being torn off.

A Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) report said the stern of the ship swung across the harbour and collided with a bulk cement carrier Milburn Carrier II, that was in the process of berthing at an adjacent wharf and ended up being holed near the waterline.

“The Seabourn Encore crew were able to establish power to the ship’s propulsion systems in time to lessen the impact and to maintain control of the ship until the wind abated enough to re-secure the ship to its berth with the aid of a harbour pilot and tugs,” the report said.

After the incident PrimePort started repairs and upgrades to No 1 wharf.

The work was still ongoing last summer when three cruise ship visits had to be cancelled, but has since been completed.

PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt said $800,000 had been spent on bollards but the company had also undertaken a massive upgrade of No1 wharf, costing several million dollars, which was done regardless of the cruise ships.

“We’re confident we’ve got the infrastructure required for vessels,” he said.

This summer the Seabourn Encore is due to make a second visit on February 14, followed by the Silver Muse (February 7) and Europa 2 (February 15).