Luís Alberto, president of the Parish Council of Ferragudo, today defended the need for the operation planned for the cruise port of Portimão to undergo an economic and financial feasibility study.
Luís Alberto is the spokesperson for a petition launched in 2020 against increasing the capacity of the Portimão cruise port, which has more than 4.000 signatories, and intends to see safeguards for aspects such as the preservation of the natural and scenic values of the left bank of the mouth of the Arade River, as well as the economic means for this purpose.
The same source acknowledged that, since 2020, it has already been possible to see some of the concerns of the petitioners resolved, such as the preservation of archaeological finds or the carrying out of two environmental impact assessments for dredging and deepening navigation channels in the river, but considered it necessary study the cruise operation itself.
«There was the first assessment [of environmental impact], which had a negative opinion, and then the second had a conditioned positive opinion and has already added many more things that were not initially in 2020, when we started with the petition», said the mayor, who last Friday he represented the petitioners during a hearing at the Public Works Commission of the Assembly of the Republic.
Despite these advances, the petitioners continue to "defend that there is a lack of an economic and financial feasibility study" of the cruise operation, said the president of the Parish Council of Ferragudo, in the municipality of Lagoa, district of Faro, clarifying that «no one is against widening the channel, because a river that is not drained of sand and from which the sediments are not removed is a dead river».
Luís Alberto noted that several international ports are «reducing the number of cruises that are arriving» for environmental reasons and defended that this «should also be considered in this case», as well as the installation of equipment shore to ship, which is scheduled until 2030 and allows the port to supply energy to the ship, preventing the engines from running continuously while they are berthed.
According to the mayor, it was also necessary to "cut off a series of cruises that do not have or are not environmentally sustainable" and carry out an environmental impact study for the operation of the cruise port and not just for this deepening and widening of the navigation channel.
«This evolved a lot in two years, in two years we managed – not only with this petition, but with the work of the Parish Council of Ferragudo and the City Council [of Lagoa] – to reduce the size of the cruises that were supposed to enter here », highlighted the president of the Council of Ferragudo, a town located on the bank of the river Arade, opposite Portimão.
Luís Alberto stated that, at the moment, the port of Portimão can enter [ships] up to 230 meters in length, while in 2020 the project envisaged 334 meters in length and two maneuvering basins, one in front of Praia Grande and another in front of to the port, 500 meters.
«The current project no longer has the first maneuvering basin in front of Praia Grande, it already has a deceleration zone, and already contemplates a re-evaluation of the other basin», he exemplified, adding that «the cruise ships entering the port will only have 272 meters long, that is, about 40 meters more than the current ones».
The president of the Parish Council also said that it is necessary that the left bank of the river «not be concreted», nor the «naturalization» of the surroundings be affected, and hopes that the administration of the ports of Sines and the Algarve, as responsible for the exploration port, proceed with the necessary measures to address these concerns.